As a faith community we are currently monitoring the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation. We are following all of the recommendations from the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and CDC. We continue to monitor reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Protection and Minnesota Department of Health.
Check this page for updates on this rapidly changing situation. The diocese is providing live updates and resources at archspm.org/covid19.
MAY 23, 2020
I wish to let you know of an important breakthrough in our state that will allow for greater worship opportunities for all Minnesotans as we together address the Covid-19 pandemic. On Tuesday, Governor Walz will issue a new executive order that allows faith communities to accommodate up to 250 people for worship services, provided precautions are taken to protect public health.We welcome that development. We know that Governor Walz and his administration are trusting that when faith communities gather, they will do so consistent with public health guidance. Our commitment as Catholics to the common good makes it natural for us to pledge to be good citizens when we gather for worship.
READ LETTERUPDATE: Registration for public Mass at STM is now open! (June 15, 2020)
The bishops of Minnesota are united in our conviction that we can safely resume public Masses in accordance with both our religious duties and with accepted public health and safety standards. We can worship in a way that reflects both the love of God and the love of our neighbors (cf. Mark 12:30-31). Therefore, we are giving our parishes permission for the resumption of the public celebration of Mass on Tuesday, May 26, which will give us time to be ready for the celebration of Pentecost on May 31. Parishes will be required to follow the strict protocols we have published for sanitation and social distancing and will have to limit attendance to one-third of the seating capacity of the church. No one will be obliged to attend, as the bishops of Minnesota will continue to dispense from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass.
UPDATE: Read Fr. Warren's letter to parishioners on planning for return to Mass (May 22, 2020)
Two weeks ago, I communicated with you that the bishops of Minnesota had decided to ask our parishes to plan and prepare for the opening of public Masses May 18, based on the indicated expiration date of Governor Walz’s Stay-at-Home order. At the same time, the bishops proactively engaged public officials about the importance of some limited opening of our churches for Mass. A plan to resume public Masses in a limited manner on May 18—but only in places where parishes were willing and ready to follow a prescribed set of sanitization protocols—was submitted May 8 to the governor for feedback. Four Lutheran denominations joined our letter to Governor Walz. A number of other denominations and independent churches submitted plans May 8, as well.
To our disappointment, the governor and his administration have not yet engaged in dialogue with us on our proposal. While easing the Stay-at-Home order May 13, the governor’s new Stay Safe Minnesota executive order explicitly prohibited faith-based gatherings with more than ten unrelated people. We are hopeful, however, because Governor Walz has called meetings of faith leaders for next Monday and Tuesday, to solicit feedback on a new set of public worship guidelines that his administration will be producing. The date of re-opening for religious gatherings of more than ten people is still uncertain.
I remain grateful for your commitment even in these difficult days to give joyful witness to the Resurrection of Jesus. I deeply appreciate the sacrifices that you have been making so that we as the Catholic community can give concrete witness to our respect for human life, and tend to the physical and spiritual well-being of our brothers and sisters.
With the extension of Governor Walz’s Stay-at-Home Order until May 18, the public celebration of Mass in the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis will continue to be suspended until that date.
Thank you for supporting our Catholic parishes and schools and caring for those in need during these difficult times. I have been praying often and intensely for you, especially during Holy Week. I hope you were able to enter into the spirit of those days, whether by participating in the Archdiocesan virtual retreat or the online events in your parish or through your personal prayer at home.
For the past several weeks, the COVID-19 situation has required that we not celebrate public Masses in our churches or hold large gatherings in our parishes. As reflected in the recent extension of the stay-at-home order in our State, the crisis requires that the temporary measures that we adopted are still needed to protect the public good. For that reason, Archdiocesan directives currently in force (including the dispensation of the Sunday Mass obligation) will remain at least until May 4.
STAY AT HOME ORDER BEGINNING MARCH 27
Governor Tim Walz signed an executive Stay at Home Order for Minnesota. The governor has designated "faith leaders and workers" to be essential employees; Therefore, some of our staff members will continue working in the office and answering phone calls in an effort to be here for you!
We will continue to offer the Sacrament of Reconciliation at our standard time (Saturday at 3:30 pm) as we have been encouraged to administer the sacraments in cases of serious need. We will be making adjustments to allow for social distancing.
ARCHBISHOP HEBDA SUSPENDS ALL PUBLIC MASSES BEGINNING MARCH 19
State Officials have communicated to religious leaders that the next two weeks are critical for the containment of the COVID-19/coronavirus and that all congregational gatherings should be avoided. While I am sure that the advice is startling for those of any creed, it particularly hits hard for Catholics, given our beliefs about the Mass and the Eucharist.
In light of that advice, after consulting with the Presbyteral Council and College of Consultors, and having learned that an active parish priest in another U.S. diocese has tested positive for the virus – unknowingly putting his parish at risk prior to the manifestation of any symptoms – I have made the difficult decision to suspend all regularly scheduled public celebrations of Mass in the Archdiocese of Saint Paul Minneapolis, effective immediately. Given both the moral impossibility of attending Mass, as well as the dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass that was extended to the faithful of the Archdiocese last week, please rest assured that the missing of Mass in these conditions should not weigh on your conscience.