My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
While the spiritual health of our parish family is always my chief concern, my role as pastor means I also care deeply about the physical well-being of all those who attend St. Mark’s.
As the spread of COVID-19/coronavirus continues, St. Mark’s is joining other parishes in adopting some simple but important changes to our liturgy and calendar. Out of an abundance of caution, we have indefinitely suspended the sign of peace, we will not distribute the Precious Blood during Communion, and we have also emptied the holy water dishes at each of the entrances. We’ve also decided to suspend coffee and donuts after Mass, our Friday Soup Suppers and Speaker series, and our Lenten Bible Study. In so doing, St. Mark's is following the sound advice of the Archdiocese and local and national health experts.
Following similar caution, Archbishop Bernard Hebda this week announced his decision to dispense all Catholics in the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis from their obligation to attend Sunday Mass, until further notice. This is a rare dispensation and a decision he said he did not take lightly. A copy of the Archbishop’s letter was sent out to everyone on our Parish email list; a copy is also available on the archdiocesan website and our parish website.
Despite the Sunday Mass dispensation, Archbishop Hebda provided some simple ways to stay spiritually connected to the Church and each other, like participating in a special fast this Wednesday, March 18, and other important ways to increase our spiritual devotion during Lent. See his letter (attached) to learn more.
We are here to support your spiritual journey, and we will continue delivering the latest updates during this time. Here’s how you can stay involved:
Monitor our parish website (onestrongfamily.org) for prayer intentions, news and event updates.
Watch for emails with the latest information. If you are not currently receiving emails from us, you can sign up on our website, or by contacting Nick Check, our communications director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Participate in electronic giving to support our ongoing ministries and operations.
Lastly, and most importantly, in the frenzy of news and practical caution, let us never forget that we are God’s beloved children, and that He listens to our prayers. I thank you for your support and faithfulness to our parish family. I am confident that together, with God’s help and guidance, we will make it through this time of uncertainty.