News of a Sad but Necessary Measure

By Fr. Victor Feltes

Monday evening, our Bishop William Callahan announced the suspension of public Masses in the Diocese of La Crosse starting this Friday. “In light of the continued concern surrounding the coronavirus, and the advice of medical experts, across the country, and especially in our State, all Masses in the Diocese of La Crosse will be canceled beginning 20 March 2020 until further notice.” This means that there will be no Sunday or weekday parish Masses open to the general public. Earlier on Monday, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers had announced his decision to ban public gatherings greater than fifty people in hopes of mitigating the deadly spread of COVID-19.

[Post-Script: Tuesday evening, Bishop Callahan directed his priests to abide by Wisconsin’s statewide ban on all gatherings of 10 or more people announced earlier in the day and cancelled all public Masses.

What does this mean for Holy Week and Easter?
Bishop Callahan predicts that this suspension of public Masses will need to continue until the beginning of May. If so, the rites of this year’s Easter Triduum at St. Paul’s will be celebrated without public participation.

Will Confession still be available?
Yes. Bishop Callahan has asked his brother priests to offer even more and varied times for hearing confessions.

What about Funerals and Weddings?
Funerals and weddings will continue to be celebrated for the faithful but with strictly-limited attendance.

Will our Churches be open?
Bishop Callahan asks that the churches in our diocese remain accessible for private prayer. St. Paul’s and St. John the Baptist’s churches are not kept unlocked 24-7, but they will continue to be as open as they were before this epidemic arose.

Will Anointing of the Sick and Viaticum be available?
Priests will make every effort to reach the sick or dying to share these precious sacraments. Please contact us if you are aware of someone in need. Fr. Feltes can be reached at 715-568-3255.

Will any Masses be offered?
Many priests of our diocese will be privately offering Mass each day for you, the Church, and the whole world. Fr. Feltes’ daily Masses will be celebrated unannounced, at irregular times, so as to limit dangerous contact amongst God’s people.

What can we do?
Amidst these events, unprecedented in our lifetimes, Bishop Callahan calls us to charity, faithful prayer, and patience. He asks us to pray for all of our brothers and sisters whose personal lives and the lives of their families have been affected by this disease. He also invites healthy volunteers to clean our churches at various times during the day for those who may wish to make a private visit or come for Confession. If interested in joining such a cleaning effort, please call or email the parish office. Our bishop also urges us to “Please stay well and take every precaution to do so.” Stay tuned, as Fr. Feltes will provide helpful updates and edifying reflections in these days and weeks ahead. “And behold,” Jesus tells us, “I am with you always, until the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)

4 Responses to “News of a Sad but Necessary Measure”

  1. Leona Wall Says:

    Very SAD & scary!!! We all need to say more prayers & ask God to put an abrupt halt to this virus!! HE CAN DO IT!!!

  2. Joyce Uhlir Says:

    This is really helpful. Thank you for posting.

  3. Patti Anderson Says:

    I am sure church envelopes have slowed considerably. Can I mail church envelope to the rectory? Not sure how you would like this to be handled.

    • Fr. Victor Feltes Says:

      Yes. Envelopes may be mailed or hand delivered to the rectory mailbox at 1222 Main Street.

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