Note: Information for watching the Mass via livestream has been added to the story.
Bishop Donald Kettler will celebrate a Mass of Remembrance for those who have died due to complications of COVID-19 at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 25, at St. Francis Xavier Church in Sartell.
“We’ve had a really, really difficult 16 months because of the virus,” Bishop Kettler said. “I’m pleased we’re making progress against it, but more remains to be done. I want to have this special Mass to ask God for continued guidance, for healing, and to remember all those who have died or been severely impacted by COVID-19. I pray our communities will continue to move forward and stay healthy.”
People of the diocese are invited to submit names of family members and friends — whether they are from the diocese or not — to the diocesan Office of Worship. Names can be submitted via an online form at https://stcdio.org/worship/ or by calling the office at 320-255-9068.
“We will take time during the Mass to call upon the saints to be with us all and, especially, those impacted directly by the coronavirus,” said Aaron Carpenter, worship office director. “Bishop Kettler will lead us in a prayer focused on love, unity and hope as the coronavirus still claims the lives of too many in our diocese and around the world.”
Note: The Mass also will be livestreamed at https://youtu.be/mC3qJhp8X-Q and on the Diocese of St. Cloud’s Facebook page.
The past year has impacted people in many different ways, Carpenter said — from rural communities to urban communities; from educators to nurses and doctors; from elders to youth. Everyone had to find new ways to stay connected and adjust routines.
In Minnesota, as of mid-August, nearly 625,000 COVID-19 cases had been reported, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. There were some 7,700 virus-related deaths in the state.
Taking the necessary time to grieve the loss of friends and loved ones has been difficult, Carpenter added. Because of COVID-19 restrictions on gatherings for a time, many families were not able to have funeral Masses for loved ones.
“As a chaplain at the St. Cloud Hospital, I have witnessed the grief of the loss of a loved one being ‘set aside’ because of the pandemic,” said Father Mark Stang. “With not having a full funeral there is something missing in the grieving process.
“One of the beautiful rites of our Catholic faith is honoring those who have died with rituals that gather people together in support of each other,” he added. “Having this Mass for those who have died from COVID-19 gives honor and dignity to the person who has died. As we honor and give respect to these souls, this Mass can also help us in a difficult but very important step in the grieving process.”
The goal is to give people a broader sense of how many lives have been impacted not just by the coronavirus, but also loss related to the virus.
“We are one body in Christ and we are called to travel with one another on this journey of faith,” Carpenter said. “Even when we find ourselves in difficult times — tragic times — we need to come together as one body to mourn, to pray, to remember, to hope and lift up our needs to a God of mercy and love.”
Photo: © Getty Images/Espair