June letter mailed to Parishioners

Posted on Jul 16, 2020

Dear St. Joe’s Parishioners,

It’s been a long time.  At least it feels like a lifetime since we could all gather for Mass.  Now, Bishop Callahan has given us guidance that we can once again celebrate the Mass publicly—with restrictions.  I have decided that our first public Mass will be Saturday, 27 June, but that Mass will be only for those celebrating their First Eucharist.  The first Mass open to anyone will be at 4 pm on Saturday, 4 July.  Here is what you have to do to attend.

Bishop Callahan has dispensed everyone in the Diocese of La Crosse from the obligation to attend a weekend liturgy.  And he strongly encourages those over 60, and certainly those over 65 to continue to stay at home and participate through the streaming Masses.  Anyone wishing to attend a weekend liturgy should assess the risk. If you determine that you would still like to attend, you must email the parish office (ParishOffice@StJosephPrescott.com) and request admittance.  In your request you should indicate the number of people living in the same household that would like to attend.  Rita, the parish secretary, will then schedule parishioners.  We can accommodate a maximum of 100 people, but practically, probably, only 50-75 will fit in the pew configurations.  Rita will then send you an email confirming your date.  You would show up no earlier than 3:40 pm.  You will be checked in at the door and must wear your own mask.  If your name is not on the list and you do not have a mask, you will not be admitted.  Further instructions will be included in the email confirming your Mass date.

I really have no idea how many people will want to attend these public Masses.  I’ve heard from so many of you that you will not attend until there is a vaccine.  The County Health Department is still recommending that the only safe way to worship is through the streaming services.  Dr. Anthony Fauci in a recent interview in America Magazine highly recommended that even if you attend a religious service, you not participate in communion.  Again, everyone must assess the risk and decide for him or herself.  And of course, if you are displaying any symptoms of the virus, you would absolutely not attend.  We will begin by having one Mass a weekend on Saturday.  If there is a large demand, we will consider adding a Sunday morning Mass as time goes on.

Finally, we have enclosed with this mailing a form for automatic withdrawal/deposit for your contribution.  If you currently do not use this service, you might want to consider it.  Even though we cannot be together the parish still has bills and teachers’ salaries to pay.  If you have not contributed anything during this time away, please consider writing the parish a check today.  While many of our parishioners have continued to mail in their checks our weekly collection is down 20-25%.

Know that you are in my prayer each day.

(Rev.)  George R. Szews