Bishop Kettler announced March 17th that effective immediately all public Masses in the St. Cloud Diocese would be suspended through Easter Monday, April 13th. I am sure this must have been a very difficult decision for the bishop and it is important that we continue to support and pray for him and for one another. Please see his message for more specific details, available at www.stcdio.org or included as an insert in this bulletin which will be sent out to all parishioners on our mailing list.
Stations of the Cross and many other parish events or activities have also been cancelled. We will be discussing various possibilities for providing communication and liturgy across the ACC. During Lent we remember Christ’s own 40 days in the desert, alone and in prayer. May we join our trails and sufferings with his and find in him the grace and strength to always draw closer to the Father.
Changes in Mass Schedules
Last year the St. Cloud Diocese asked that each Area Catholic Community submit by December 2019 a detailed plan with timelines for how the various parishes were going to work together within their ACC to best use the resources available, meet the needs of parishioners, and fulfill the role of the Church. Our Together as One Area Catholic Community Planning Council met numerous times to put together a document and submit it to the diocese. Earlier this month, the diocese sent out a response to each ACC based on the plan they submitted.
In the response, the bishop has made clear his expectation that all Area Catholic Communities “have a Mass schedule that staggers Mass times by June 30, 2020.” Our planning council has anticipated this recommendation and we have been discussing heavily proposals for a new weekend Mass schedule to begin July 1, 2020. We are publicly presenting the results of our deliberations in this week’s bulletin and at the Masses this weekend. We understand that with concerns over COVID-19 it will not be very easy to inform everyone about these upcoming changes.
The hope is that once things improve, we will host a “parish-hall” event to more thoroughly present this information to anyone who wishes to join us, though we cannot yet set a solid date on that at this time. To prepare for the parish-hall meeting, anyone who has comments, questions, concerns is welcome to submit them by dropping them in the mailboxes that will be located near the main entrances of all four parishes within our ACC. Please share your thoughts prior to the parish-hall meeting as they will help form an outline for that presentation and make sure we cover as many questions as possible.