Mass Suspended: COVID-19 and the Common Good

Catholic churches in the St. Cloud diocese aren’t shutting down.

Pastoral care will continue.

But today our bishop announced that public Masses won’t happen in the diocese until after April 13:

Bishop Kettler: Public Masses in diocese suspended through April 13
Bishop Kettler’s Column, The Central Minnesota Catholic (March 17, 2020)

“Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

“After much prayer and consultation with members of my staff, and in light of the latest recommendations from state and federal health authorities for slowing the rapid spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) and protecting the people of our communities, I have made the difficult decision to suspend all public weekday and weekend Masses in the Diocese of Saint Cloud, effective immediately through Easter Monday, April 13. All Catholics in the diocese remain dispensed from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass during this time….

“…While the threat in your community may not be readily visible, it is very real. I believe these steps are necessary during this national emergency to protect human life and uphold the common good — two foundational principles of Catholic social teaching. While it may seem counterintuitive, we stay in solidarity with one another at this time by staying apart.

“This outbreak has caused much fear and anxiety, and I share those same feelings. I haven’t experienced anything like this in my 50 years of priesthood. But we can take comfort in knowing that Jesus never leaves our side. He offers us the grace we need to make our way through this present challenge. ‘Take courage,’ he reminds us. ‘It is I; do not be afraid’ (Matthew 14:27)….”

I’m not happy about this, but think it’s a good idea.

Mass is the heart of Catholic worship. And we’re expected to protect human life and uphold the common good. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1324, One/Two/Article 2 Participation in Social Life/II: The Common Good, 25582300)

Bishop Kettler included a link to Diocesan TV Mass. It’s not a substitute for being there, but will give me opportunities to participate. Virtually.

One more thing. There’s a prayer at the end of the bishop’s column. No pressure, but prayer seems like a good idea.

And the inevitable links to allegedly-related posts:

About Brian H. Gill

I'm a sixty-something married guy with six kids, four surviving, in a small central Minnesota town. I mostly write and make digital art. I'm only interested in three things: that which exists within the universe; that which exists beyond; and that which might exist.
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