As the coronavirus pandemic continues to limit the ways worshippers can safely gather, the diocese, parishes and area religious communities are doing what they can to make Christmas Mass accessible to all.
Most parishes in the diocese will hold in-person Christmas Eve Masses, with some scheduling additional services earlier in the day because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the current limitations on church capacity. Bishop Donald Kettler has approved a more flexible schedule —allowing for additional Masses — so those who would like to attend Mass in person can do so while still following COVID-19 protocols.
In the Diocese of St. Cloud, those protocols include members of the assembly wearing face coverings and physical distancing of six feet, except for members of the same household.
The dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass is still in effect and there are many opportunities for people to experience Mass on TV, the radio or online.
For those unable or not comfortable attending Mass in person, many parishes will also livestream their Masses. Check with parishes for Mass times and livestreaming information. Links to the parishes in the diocese can be found at https://stcdio.org/parishes.
- The Diocese of St. Cloud has recorded a Christmas Mass with Bishop Donald Kettler that will be available online at www.stcdio.org/TVMass. The Mass will also air on select local access cable channels on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, including Benton Cable Channel 19 (4 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 24; and 9 a.m and 11 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 25) and Community Connection (Arvig) Channel 14 (9 a.m. on Dec. 25.)
- Christmas Eve Mass will be celebrated in person at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. at St. Mary’s Cathedral in St. Cloud. Bishop Donald Kettler will preside at the 10 p.m. Mass. The 4 p.m. Mass will air on K-YES radio in St. Cloud at 8 p.m.
- Christmas Eve Mass will be celebrated and interpreted for the deaf and persons with hearing disabilities at 10 p.m. at Sacred Heart Church in Sauk Rapids. This Mass is both in-person and livestreamed at www.sacredheartsaukrapids.org.
- Christmas Day Mass will be celebrated and interpreted for the deaf and persons with hearing disabilities at 9 a.m. at Christ Our Light North Church in Princeton. This Mass is in-person only.
The following religious communities also will livestream their Christmas Eve and Christmas Day celebrations.
- St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville will hold a virtual Vigil of Christmas service (evening prayer) at 5 p.m. Christmas Eve followed by a Christmas concert at 9:30 p.m. and Christmas Eve Eucharist at 10 p.m. Christmas Day services include morning prayer at 8 a.m., Christmas Eucharist at 10 a.m., Midday Prayer at noon and Evening Prayer at 5 p.m. These events will be livestreamed at www.saintjohnsabbey.org.
- The Crosier Fathers and Brothers will celebrate Christmas Eve with Mass livestreamed from their community in Phoenix, Arizona at 7 p.m. Evening prayer will begin at 6 p.m. with caroling prior to Mass. These can be viewed on their YouTube channel, Crosiers1210. Christmas Day Mass also will be livestreamed from Phoenix at 9 a.m. with morning prayer beginning at 8:30 a.m.
- The Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls will celebrate a virtual Christmas Day Mass at 8:30 a.m. which can be accessed at https://bit.ly/322wW1G or go to YouTube and search for “Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls, MN.”
- Pope Francis will celebrate the Christmas “Mass during the Night” Dec. 24 at 7:30 p.m. local time (12:30 p.m. Central Time) so that the few people invited to attend can get home in time to observe Italy’s 10 p.m. curfew. To view, go to https://bit.ly/3pcy3oP.