Father David Dutra | St. Bernard's Catholic Church, Tracy, CA
Submitted by: Jim Abell
When everything stopped, we froze. No more Mass? No Sacraments? After the initial pause Father David began recording Mass, then livestream. As soon as we have a handle on that he started drive up Confession. We worked out the wrinkles and then we moved to outdoor Mass while maintaining the livestream for those who could not attend.
It has been a real roller coaster. When it first hit we were just about to begin our First Communion and Confirmations. Well that stopped until Father David figured out we could do it outside in limited numbers. It meant 10 first Communion Masses and 9 Confirmation Masses due to the state limit with the number of people who could attend.
We are now doing live morning Mass, a livestream Mass on Saturday evening and a live Spanish Saturday evening Mass. On Sunday we have 8 live Masses. Confession is drive up on Saturday and Wednesday.
If this were not enough, Father David began implementing an amazing parish program. We began doing it via zoom with the parish staff and now we, staff, meet daily at 11:30 a.m. for prayer each day. Monday is Rosary, Tuesday he does a teaching, Wednesday is Adoration, Thursday is a free format and Friday we do Lectio Divina for Sunday's Gospel.
He has also done a number of Zoom events for our women and men's ministries.
While many parishes are doing nothing for religious education for students, Father David has worked with our RE team to develop a Domestic Church program so our parents can teach and train their children about their faith and prepare them to receive their sacraments.
I think this is amazing because here in California we still cannot have inside Mass and cannot gather more than 100 people even outside!
He has made prayer a priority for our parish. He has also brought Amazing Parish to St Bernard's and is making evangelization a priority.
In a time when many parishes here in California are doing nothing or minimal he is doing the most he is allowed to do.
St. Bernard's Catholic Church parish website