Weekend Masses Will Still Be Celebrated March 14-15, 2020

Fr. Joel Life on Planet Earth

There is no change to the weekend Mass schedule for March 14 and 15, 2020. No one is obligated to attend.

Are Masses canceled this weekend, due to the coronavirus outbreak?
No. Some Diocese have taken that step, but the Diocese of Green Bay is not one of them. Fr. Joel Sember will be celebrating Saturday Mass at 4:30 PM at Holy Trinity and the usual Sunday schedule: 7:30 AM at St. Patrick, 9:00 AM at St. Anthony, 11:00 AM at Holy Trinity.

I heard that Bishop gave a dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass?
That is correct. Most Catholics appear to be unaware of their obligation to attend Mass every Sunday unless they are legitimately impeded from doing so. Our elderly parishioners are very aware of this obligation. By dispensing from this obligation, Bishop is encouraging the elderly and the immune-compromised to avoid Mass for their own safety. Those who are sick should not attend out of charity for others. The specific wording of the decree reads:

To prevent the spread of disease, to allay fear, and to assure the consciences of the Faithful, I hereby grant a dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass for the Sundays of March 15, 22, and 29, 2020.

Decree of Bishop Ricken on March 13, 2020

Does this mean I shouldn’t attend Mass?
If you are sick with any contagious disease or vulnerable to illness, you should not attend Mass. Everyone else is welcome and Masses will be offered. You can catch the live stream of the Cathedral 9:00 AM Mass.

What steps are the parishes taking to avoid the spread of coronavirus?
We are following the guidelines from the Diocese by emptying Holy Water fonts, not offering the Sign of Peace handshake, discouraging Communion on the tongue and not offering the common cup. I would like to say that our churches will be sanitized after each Mass but I don’t have a cleaning team able to do that. So I suggest washing hands before and after attendance at Mass and other public gatherings and avoiding touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. You should consider sanitizing your own hands with an alcohol-based sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol prior to taking Communion in the hand. Also online giving is available for Holy Trinity and for St. Anthony and St. Patrick.

Father, will you be live-streaming Mass like you did for the blizzard two years ago?
Our parishes do not have the equipment to live-stream Masses and I can’t both celebrate and manage social media at the same time. We would need equipment and a volunteer. So I can’t promise anything but I’ll see what we can do.

This is whole thing is nuts.
I prefer to see it as an opportunity to reconsider our priorities, spend time together as families, and support one another by sharing our stockpiles of hoarded toilet paper and hand-sanitizer with the less fortunate. The sad part for me is how loudly parents with children complain about schools being closed, as if caring for children were a terrible burden. Do we treat the elderly, and young children, as a burden or a blessing? They can hear you, you know. And we’re all giving up sports for Lent. Another place to examine our conscience about our priorities.