April 24, 2020 – Bishop Kettler’s letter to pastors

Dear Pastor:

Thank you again for all you are doing at this time to meet the spiritual needs of parishioners. God continues to work through his people, and your efforts with livestreaming and recorded Masses and other outreach are important ways of making Christ present during this time we are unable to gather in person.

I want to let you know that I and Minnesota’s other bishops have begun discussing protocols for resuming public worship in our churches throughout the state. What is clear is that this will be a gradual process. There is no future date on which we can simply “flip the switch” and go back to the normal parish life to which we’re accustomed. The coronavirus, unfortunately, will be with us for some time.

For now, I ask you to continue to observe my directives regarding the suspension of public Masses through May 15 and other activities that I listed in my April 7 letter to you. When the governor’s stay-at-home order is lifted and restrictions on public gatherings are eased, I will keep you informed about how we will begin moving forward. We will likely start by opening churches for individual prayer and adoration before we have public Masses and other larger gatherings. I am in regular consultation with state and local health officials, and the health and safety of all our people will guide my decisions. This includes your health and well-being as priests ministering to the public.

In the meantime, I invite you to send me your ideas and suggestions for the best ways to resume liturgical and parish life in our diocese in light of the challenges we will continue to face. Please email your suggestions to Colleen Haider at chaider@gw.stcdio.org.

Please also continue to use social media platforms and other creative approaches for prayer and parishioners’ spiritual formation. I hope you will continue to use many of these tools even after public worship resumes in our churches as a way of reaching new audiences and those who might not be able to participate in public worship right away.

If you have any questions, please contact Fr. Rolfes at 320-251-2340, or rrolfes@gw.stcdio.org.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

+Donald J. Kettler
Bishop of Saint Cloud

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