As you may already have heard our Holy Father, Pope Francis, did appoint yesterday a new bishop for our diocese.
Bishop-elect Michel Mulloy of the Diocese of Rapid City as Fr. Bissonate shared with us "has served the faithful of South Dakota as a priest since his ordination in 1979. He comes to us with a wealth of both pastoral experience, having served in parishes from 1979 to 2017, and administrative experience, having served the Rapid City diocese in various capacities since the late 1980s. He served the Rapid City Diocese as vicar general from 2017 to 2019 and has been serving as diocesan administrator as they await the installation of Bishop-elect Muhich for their diocese".
Please let us pray for Bishop-elect Mulloy as he begins transitioning into this new ministry as our new shepherd.
Father Francis Kabiru
Attached you will find a letter signed by Father Bissonette, our diocesan administrator, and by the bishops of the other dioceses in Minnesota. Father Bissonette asks you to please read it carefully. Click here to Read the Letter.
Some of its key points:
- The bishops of the other Minnesota dioceses and Father Bissonette in our diocese are giving parishes permission for a broader public celebration of Mass beginning Tuesday, May 26.
- Parishes will be required to follow the strict protocols for sanitation and social distancing that were released previously and will have to limit attendance to one-third of the seating capacity of the church.
- No one will be obliged to attend Mass, as the dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass continues.
- Parishes are not required to offer public celebration of Mass until they are comfortable that they are ready to safely do so.
Media inquiries can be directed to me.
Please post this on your websites and disseminate it to your people. Thanks for your attention, and let’s continue to pray for each other during these difficult days.
Deacon Kyle Eller
Update: May 15, 2020:
Public Masses: As maybe aware the good news are, we shall begin cautiously in a very structured and phased plan regathering for masses starting May 20th following protocols established by the Diocese of Duluth. (Click Here to Read the Protocols). We encourage you to take the below information with underlying important fact: Your Personal Health and well-being and that of your loved ones and those you care for most-come first. As we do our best to welcome you back to our worship areas through guidance of the protocol given, we want urge you to take that personal responsibility that we have been educated through out this pandemic period. We have a few summarized thoughts we want you to reflect about as you plan to attend any masses in the near future.
In summary, if you are sick, you have certain conditions that might put you and your loved ones or neighbors in danger- kindly consider to continue to stay home and join the rest in spiritual communion. If you are grouped in the bracket of age of those regarded as 'vulnerable persons' as defined by Federal and State guidance on this pandemic, consider of not rejoining quickly larger groups at this stage. Lastly If you are unsure and might be wondering if this is the right time to start coming back, kindly take your time- the dispensation for Sunday obligation from the Diocese for non attendance is still in place.
Masses Schedules: I have met with a few leadership team to prepare for a slow re-opening under the guidance given and we have resolved to progressively review various steps as things unfold but ready to start by Sunday weekend of 24/25th:-The Ascension Sunday with very limited persons-Please let us know via email, or text or call you might be coming. The weekly daily masses starts from Tuesday thru Friday 8:30 am on May 20th at St Francis. Weekend masses May 24/25th: St Francis: Saturday: 4 pm, Sunday 8:30 am, **added mass Sunday 4pm. Masses: St Mary/Joseph Sunday 10:30 am.
Volunteers: We need definitely more volunteers especially in helping clean, organize things before and after masses. Also if-anyone out there may know how we can livestream our Sunday masses to those at home, can also call or text Fr. Francis at 218-831-0964. Also call the office and leave a message for more details this coming week or email us back.
Kindly read the attached Reverend James B. Bissonette, Diocesan Administrator's letter and the Diocese of Duluth's Covid-19 Final Protocols. Click here to read the letter!
Again, your individual health and protection of this virus and those of others is important hence kindly make a cautious informed decision before starting attending masses offered. We definitely want everyone back soon with some sense of comfortability to worship and celebrate sacraments together but want be cautious and prudent as possible. We want our parish to be as prepared as possible in the coming weeks and seek you patience and collaboration. Again The obligation to attend Mass on Sunday will continue to be suspended until it is safe for all to return to Church.
Update: May 8, 2020:
Peace be with you and my prayers you are holding on well under this tough and unique circumstances we all are in! Personally I am well, missing getting together for worship weekly as unfortunately we were separated while was still new here to get to know each other better as a result to this pandemic. All in God's hands praying for protection and health of everyone. My people in Kenya as some have asked, are in the same boat as this is affecting the entire world and we are in prayers and solidarity with everyone.
Now, there are A lot of information here that I think is important to share now. Kindly take a moment to read it through and share it with any other of our parishioners who might not receive it directly because we aren't able have their email information yet! Thanks to Amy Feely, one of our parishioner who despite her busy and important schedule as a health provider and caring of her family with 3 young children she volunteered to help us have a parish website to be launched soon. We are so appreciative to Amy and her family for compiling these emails together and once our parish website is established, we shall also be able to often broadly communicate more of parish news/events into the future from our parish office.
Weekly Donations Update. To all of you who have mailed or dropped your Donations-THANK YOU for keeping the Parishes Bills get taken care! We continue to encourage you to consider Online giving--it is Safe and Secure! If interested, please contact Kathy Erickson our bookkeeper to set it up. You can also mail donations to: St. Francis Office: 509 Sunshine Drive, Carlton MN 55718.
A Three-Phase approach.
"The Bishops of Minnesota and myself gathered yesterday after Governor Walz's speech to carefully consider our own phased approach back into having public Masses. We recognize that when we return to public Masses we will have to do so with carefully defined protocols in order to keep people safe and to prevent the spread of the virus. We know that if we work together we can do this safely. We need to begin now to work with our priests and parish leaders so that we can be ready to begin some limited public Masses on May 18. We are developing a gradual, multi-phase approach to return to public worship. These phases will allow for the ability to re-evaluate the process as necessary in order to ensure the health and safety of the community going forward. Our plan presumes that throughout the state the dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass will continue until such a time that it is safe for all to return.
All phases of this plan anticipate that we are following strict guidelines for social distancing and sanitization.
We are currently in phase 1. During this time our churches can be open daily for prayer, and priests as they are able can provide for adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Confessions can happen in spaces that are well ventilated with adequate social distance yet still assure the privacy of the sacrament. It is also permissible to have weddings with no more than 10 people and funerals with no more than 10 people.
We anticipate beginning phase 2 on May 18, and will work with state officials in a collaborative way to meet that goal. During phase 2, public Masses in churches will be allowed in smaller groups limited to no more than 1/3 of the seating capacity of the church (every 3rd pew) in order to allow adequate social distancing between those not of the same household.
Churches will have to develop ways to ensure that this capacity limit is strictly followed, such as online signups and ushers. Since there will be no Sunday obligation, Catholics will be encouraged to attend other Masses during the week instead of Sunday in order to spread out the numbers. More Masses will need to be offered in some cases to accommodate everyone in the parish who wishes to attend Mass.
We intend to publish detailed protocols to be followed for the celebration of Mass and the distribution of Holy Communion well in advance of May 18 when public Masses will resume so that parishes can get ready for the careful way we will have to move forward. Social gatherings and other small group meetings will not be allowed during phase 2 as they do not have the same controlled movement as Mass. Some other sacramental celebrations may be allowed, but never exceeding 1/3 of the seating capacity of the Church. If a liturgical celebration or event cannot maintain the capacity and social distancing requirements, it may not take place.
At this point, it is unknown when we would be able to enter Phase 3, which would provide more opportunity for us to have larger celebrations. We will continue to evaluate and follow the guidance of civil authorities and public health experts." Fr. Jim Bissonette.
My Action Plan Intent: I would like to highlight my prayerful vision plans with the help of our parish staff and volunteers moving forward if we are allowed to re-open soon. At St. Francis Church I have already engaged a sound technician (ESC Systems-Jim Morse) to see how best we can have a live sound feed through the current speakers in the social hall . This will help create extra space to accommodate willing more people at masses once opened and at the same time maintain expected social distancing. The sound feed will be easier and cheaper at this time to install before we can even think of a need for cameras for live feed of mass into the Television which is already mounted in social hall. At Mary and Joseph Parish we are still debating if the basement can be used as part of a social distancing if need be and what that might entail to make it ready. I'm open to practical cost effective solutions on any approach.
Masses and volunteers: We shall be calling upon for more volunteers to start thinking on how we can step up for organized group masses schedules when time comes and as suggested have sign-up scheduling as possible for whom will attend which particular mass if need be. I have offered to celebrate an extra mass at St. Francis at 4pm every Sunday as majority preferred that time (for the time been) once we are allowed to congregate. Please note, this extra mass will be offered ONLY as need be with intent to give an option for parishioners of both parishes to re-adjust and attend weekend masses for a brief transition to normalcy. We shall also move Sunday morning mass from 8 am to 8:30 am. The extra 4 pm mass on Sundays will have no music.
Susan and John Murray are no longer able to do janitorial work at St. Francis moving forward. As we thank them for their dedicated service to the parish over the years, we definitely need of someone soon or volunteers to take these janitorial duties. It takes about 7 hours to clean the church or even more every week and with more sanitizing requirements into the future, we shall definitely need help. I am making an appeal if you have a recommendation of someone you know who is a detailed person to cleanness and order, please reach out to me through the parish office soonest possible.
Update of weekly Sacramental Celebrations.
We are not able to do any life stream masses but hoping you are able to watch from ETWN as has several Sunday masses options and also those on Facebook. I'm still celebrating daily and Sunday weekly Masses at St. Francis and Mary and Joseph Parishes for all parishioners accompanied by Deacon Steve and Bryan at respective Churches. (Maybe with a tech person willing to livestream, at churches,is welcomed to help).Thursdays we have Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament from 9 am to-1 pm at St Francis Church. Saturday 3pm I'm always available for individual confessions and before mass at 10 am at St. Mary and Joseph Church. I have been called a couple times to anoint parishioners at their homes and regularly do go for anointing of the Sick at Inter-Faith-Care Center which has been a blessing. Note, baptisms or weddings are still allowed during this time of social distancing with amount of people allowed to be present still remain less than 10.
1st Communion and RCIA Candidates.
As soon as we have a more public gathering of worshippers, we shall set a Sunday to have our regular 1st Communion Sacramental Celebrations. We thank parents whom have truly continued to take their main role of teaching and passing on the faith to their children as that truly as our Catechism teaches us, it is their first main responsibility as Christian parents to do so. Just like in any education sector, the Church as an institution is there to just assist and facilitate as the primary unit of teaching is that of a family- mom and dad, siblings, grandpa, grandma, relatives and all Christian witnesses. God bless you parents and grandparents for all you do to witness and support these next generation of Christians. Please don't give up when it gets tough as I know it can be tough coming aso from a large family myself-sometime we were stubborn also.
On going Updates.
Now that we have more emails and text message numbers of most of you, we shall keep you posted from the office now and then with any progress. Please encourage others to sign up on the email list. We hope the website which will be www.stfmjcatholic.org will be also roached soon hosted by LPi.
May we continue to remain hopeful as we pray for those in difficult situations in our midst due to this pandemic. If we can be of any direct help to anyone you know or collectively want us to and have practical ideas to do so, please let us know how we can facilitate your ideas to fruition. St. Francis remind us, "Preach more by your deeds and less by your words". That is a call to true discipleship for all of us as these are unsettling times no doubt. May we keep though respecting and obeying our civic instructed measures in calmness and optimism, and pray more for all the efforts to cure the sick and eliminate the virus so that we can get back to a new normalcy sooner in all our fields and even start recongregating for masses.
Peace and God Bless.
Fr. Francis .
Cc Deacon Steve and Deacon Brian.