Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
As our state and country begin to reopen, I want to thank you for the sacrifices you’ve made to slow the spread of the virus and keep our state’s most vulnerable residents safe. I am also grateful for your dedication in remaining close to Jesus and staying connected with one another in your parishes and communities, often through new and creative ways.
Fasting from the public celebration of the Eucharist was especially challenging, and we will continue to be under the shadow of the coronavirus for some time. But, with joy in our hearts, we are now taking steps to once again celebrate Mass together in our churches. This is being done gradually to ensure everyone’s health and safety.
I hope the time away has given us a greater appreciation for the Eucharist and the work done by our pastors, parish ministers and Catholic school staff. I hope, too, that we will continue to use the tools and resources we’ve tapped during these last few months to do even more effective and wide-ranging ministry in the future.
With this in mind, I am happy to be celebrating the ordination to the priesthood of three men in early June. Deacon Brady Keller of St. Gall in Tintah, Deacon Thomas Skaja of Annunciation in Mayhew Lake, and Deacon Patrick Hoeft of St. Louis in Paynesville will be ordained at 10:30 a.m., Saturday, June 6.
The Mass will be open only to family members and invited guests to ensure physical distancing and everyone’s safety as we continue to transition to larger gatherings. The Mass will be livestreamed, however, at www.stcdio.org/ordinations. I invite all the people of the diocese to participate in this wonderful celebration. You can read their stories in the July edition of The Central Minnesota Catholic.
Last year, on the feast of Pentecost (May 31 this year), Pope Francis spoke of the power of the Holy Spirit and our need to welcome it into our lives. “The Spirit is peace in the midst of restlessness, confidence in the midst of discouragement, joy in sadness, youth in aging, courage in the hour of trial. Amid the stormy currents of life, he lowers the anchor of hope.”
The coronavirus has certainly fomented restlessness, discouragement and much sadness. Let’s turn to the Holy Spirit, therefore, for peace, confidence, joy and courage during this very challenging time. “Come, Holy Spirit!” Give us the strength to be missionary disciples and an evangelizing Church that witnesses to the Good News of Christ and revitalizes our world.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
+ Bishop Donald J. Kettler
Bishop Donald J. Kettler is the ninth bishop of the Diocese of St. Cloud, Minnesota.