Princeton Junction parish offers evening Mass to allow for summer activities

July 22, 2023 at 9:00 a.m.
Father Jason Parzynski, administrator in St. David the King Parish, Princeton Junction, greets parishioners arriving for the 7 p.m. "Post Beach/Last Chance Mass" on July 16. Joe Moore photo
Father Jason Parzynski, administrator in St. David the King Parish, Princeton Junction, greets parishioners arriving for the 7 p.m. "Post Beach/Last Chance Mass" on July 16. Joe Moore photo

By MARY STADNYK
Associate Editor

Going to the beach or a favorite water park, enjoying a vacation or relaxing in an air-conditioned house are among many great things to do on a Sunday in summer.

However, what about going to Sunday Mass? How does Mass figure into that schedule?

Photo Gallery: "Post Beach/Last Chance Mass" in St. David the King Church

Considering how people might spend their summer Sundays while hoping to generate continued Mass attendance during July and August were two reasons St. David the King Church, Princeton Junction, introduced a 7 p.m. Sunday evening “Post Beach/Last Chance Mass.”

And based on the observations of Father Jason Parzynski, parish administrator, and his staff, along with the responses from parishioners, the Mass is a success.

“I am excited to see what this Mass is like by the end of summer,” said Father Parzynski, who said he is pleased that the number of attendees increases each week. There were 96 people at the first Mass on July 2, and 128 were at the July 16 Mass.

“One gentleman who works in Manhattan and rarely gets the opportunity to sleep in said the Sunday evening Mass gives him this chance,” Father Parzynski said. Other responses came from parents with younger children who expressed how great it was to be able to enjoy the beach or pool and then come to church at the end of the day. Another parishioner mentioned that he really liked how the Sunday evening Mass helped him to become more spiritually focused in preparing for the upcoming week, Father Parzynski said.

“Needless to say, I think there are as many reasons why people have found their way to this Mass as there are the number who have attended,” Father Parzynski said.

Parishioner and active volunteer Geri Marzullo said she likes to visit Long Beach Island on many weekends and now can spend the better part of her Sunday at the shore before heading home and going to St. David the King for Mass.

“It is an excellent idea,” added Debra Camilleri, who works in the parish office on weekends. She noted that word is getting around about the Mass, and she’s noticed an uptick in the number of young people attending as well as new faces.

Parishioner Christine Miller smiled when she said the 7 p.m. Mass is for “night owls like my family."

“We like to do things late,” she said, noting that her family would normally attend the 5 p.m. Mass on Saturdays or the 11:30 on Sundays.

“This 7 p.m. Mass works for us,” Miller said.

Once Labor Day arrives in September, Father Parzynski said, the Sunday evening Mass will be moved to 4 p.m. That decision results from conversations he has had with parents who expressed that time would be ideal during the school year. It’s well after any dance, sport or activity their children may be involved in on Sunday morning, and it is still early enough for families to get home, have dinner at a reasonable time and have a normal bedtime for younger children, he added.

“Overall, my hope is that in having an open dialogue with people to understand the challenges of their schedules, we can identify the best times to have Mass so that coming to Mass is not a burden, but an opportunity to connect with Christ and receive the Sacraments,” said Father Parzynski.

Father Parzynski celebrates Mass for the 128 parishioners at the 7 p.m. Mass on July 16.  


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Going to the beach or a favorite water park, enjoying a vacation or relaxing in an air-conditioned house are among many great things to do on a Sunday in summer.

However, what about going to Sunday Mass? How does Mass figure into that schedule?

Photo Gallery: "Post Beach/Last Chance Mass" in St. David the King Church

Considering how people might spend their summer Sundays while hoping to generate continued Mass attendance during July and August were two reasons St. David the King Church, Princeton Junction, introduced a 7 p.m. Sunday evening “Post Beach/Last Chance Mass.”

And based on the observations of Father Jason Parzynski, parish administrator, and his staff, along with the responses from parishioners, the Mass is a success.

“I am excited to see what this Mass is like by the end of summer,” said Father Parzynski, who said he is pleased that the number of attendees increases each week. There were 96 people at the first Mass on July 2, and 128 were at the July 16 Mass.

“One gentleman who works in Manhattan and rarely gets the opportunity to sleep in said the Sunday evening Mass gives him this chance,” Father Parzynski said. Other responses came from parents with younger children who expressed how great it was to be able to enjoy the beach or pool and then come to church at the end of the day. Another parishioner mentioned that he really liked how the Sunday evening Mass helped him to become more spiritually focused in preparing for the upcoming week, Father Parzynski said.

“Needless to say, I think there are as many reasons why people have found their way to this Mass as there are the number who have attended,” Father Parzynski said.

Parishioner and active volunteer Geri Marzullo said she likes to visit Long Beach Island on many weekends and now can spend the better part of her Sunday at the shore before heading home and going to St. David the King for Mass.

“It is an excellent idea,” added Debra Camilleri, who works in the parish office on weekends. She noted that word is getting around about the Mass, and she’s noticed an uptick in the number of young people attending as well as new faces.

Parishioner Christine Miller smiled when she said the 7 p.m. Mass is for “night owls like my family."

“We like to do things late,” she said, noting that her family would normally attend the 5 p.m. Mass on Saturdays or the 11:30 on Sundays.

“This 7 p.m. Mass works for us,” Miller said.

Once Labor Day arrives in September, Father Parzynski said, the Sunday evening Mass will be moved to 4 p.m. That decision results from conversations he has had with parents who expressed that time would be ideal during the school year. It’s well after any dance, sport or activity their children may be involved in on Sunday morning, and it is still early enough for families to get home, have dinner at a reasonable time and have a normal bedtime for younger children, he added.

“Overall, my hope is that in having an open dialogue with people to understand the challenges of their schedules, we can identify the best times to have Mass so that coming to Mass is not a burden, but an opportunity to connect with Christ and receive the Sacraments,” said Father Parzynski.

Father Parzynski celebrates Mass for the 128 parishioners at the 7 p.m. Mass on July 16.  

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