Messages from Father Dan
March 26, 2020
After Governor Evers declared a safer at home order which went into effect 3/25 at 8 a.m. I consulted the ERC Board and we decided it's best to close the ERC building until April 24th. We will revisit the situation then. Unfortunately this means that the building will not be open for private prayer and I will not be offering the sacrament of confession as previously announced. That being said, if you desire the sacrament of confession or the sacrament of anointing because of illness, please contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org or 715-834-3399) and I will work out an arrangement with you to make it possible.
I've appreciated all the emails from parishioners and it sounds like everyone is adjusting to this life of social distancing and staying at home, while at the same time missing our parish community. I too feel deeply the loss of being together and look forward to when we can be together again. If anyone is struggling finding online resources to continue practicing your faith please contact me for assistance. The US Bishops have added the following prayer to the Good Friday petitions, but I offer it here for your personal prayer as well, as I know you are praying fervently for an end to this pandemic.
For an end to the pandemic:
Let us pray, dearly beloved, for a swift end
to the coronavirus pandemic that afflicts our world, that our God and Father
will heal the sick, strengthen those who care for them,
and help us all to persevere in faith.
Almighty and merciful God,
source of all life, health and healing,
look with compassion on our world, brought low by disease;
protect us in the midst of the grave challenges that assail us and
in your fatherly providence
grant recovery to the stricken,
strength to those who care for them,
and success to those working to eradicate this scourge.
Through Christ our Lord.
Also attached is a letter from our Bishop highlighting Pope Francis' prayer on Friday 3/27 at Noon central time.
Update: ERC Hours and Sacrament of Confession
I hope everyone is staying well physically, spiritually, and emotionally. This is an uncertain, difficult, and extraordinary time, but through prayer and the support we can offer each other from a distance we will continue to help and love one another.
If anyone in the parish is struggling physically, spiritually, and/or emotionally and you don't have anyone to reach out and help you, please contact us (715-834-3399, email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org).
Pope Francis and Bishop Callahan both stressed that church buildings should remain open in some fashion during this pandemic. After consultation with the ERC Board, we will be open from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. Sunday's, Tuesday's, and Thursday's starting March 29th until further notice. We are still closing the building for the original spring break.
Also, I will be available in the music library of the ERC starting Sunday, March 29th on Sunday's from 10-10:30 a.m., Tuesday's from 2-2:30 p.m., and Thursday's from 6-6:30 p.m. Confessions will only be behind a screen and maintaining 6 feet of physical separation. You can come for the sacrament of confession or even if you just want to talk with me about difficulties you are having spiritually/emotionally during this time.
Schedule starting March 29th until further notice:
Sunday: ERC open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Confessions 10-10:30 a.m.
Tuesday: ERC open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Confessions 2-2:30 p.m.
Thursday: ERC open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Confessions 6-6:30 p.m.
This schedule allows for our janitors to disinfect/clean on the days the building will be closed.
Again, if you are struggling physically, spiritually, and/or emotionally and you don't have anyone to reach out and help you, please contact us (715-834-3399, email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org). Either a parishioner, Newman staff member, or I will be happy to check in daily and help where we can.
Let's keep each other in prayer and I look forward to the day we will gather together again for worship!
Bishop Callahan communicated to the pastors yesterday that Masses and all parish events are cancelled starting March 20th until further notice. We do have Noon Mass scheduled at the ERC today through Thursday. We hope the cancellation of Masses will not last long, but the CDC suggested 8 weeks of no large gatherings, so it could last into May. This is obviously very sad news, but be not afraid!
The Eucharist is the source and summit of our Catholic faith. Jesus Christ is present to us in the Eucharist and nourishes our spiritual lives. Even though you will not be able to receive the Eucharist, the Lord will be present to you and will nourish and sustain your spiritual lives during this time. Be assured of His love for you! Eucharist means thanksgiving and this is a reminder that the Mass is truly a gift. This time of a different kind of Eucharistic fast will hopefully increase our hunger and our gratitude for Christ’s gift of His Body and Blood.
To stay close to the Lord, I hope you take time each day, but especially on Sundays to spend time in prayer with Him. There are so many beautiful ways to pray. We can spend time with Scripture, the rosary, journaling, having a heart-to-heart conversation with the Lord among many others.
Bishop Robert Barron will be sharing a daily Mass online, either Bishop Barron or Fr. Steve Grunow, the CEO of Word on Fire will celebrate it. It can be found at: wordonfire.org/daily-mass
For Mass readings you can check out usccb.org
-Just click on the day for the readings you want on the calendar on the right and it will take you to a page with the readings. At the bottom of the page you can enter your name and email to get the readings sent to you each day. On the left hand column there is a tab that says “Reflections – Video” and you can watch a daily reflection.
For Sunday Mass the Diocese of La Crosse has a video Mass that can be found at diolc.org/sacredworship/televised-mass
Let us also remember in our prayers all those affected by the coronavirus and all those who are working to care for the sick and to protect us. If you know of people who are isolated/lonely reach out and call them to show your closeness to them in this time of uncertainty. This time of social distancing when we are longing for more social interaction will likely remind us of the great blessing of community.
There is the Catholic tradition of praying an act of spiritual communion when we cannot physically receive the Eucharist. I share this prayer with you as well.
I believe that You are present in the Most Holy Sacrament.
I love You above all things, and I desire to receive You into my soul.
Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally,
come at least spiritually into my heart.
I embrace You as if You were already there and unite myself wholly to You.
Never permit me to be separated from You.
Please reach out to the parish (715-834-3399) if you are in need of assistance or the sacrament of the anointing of the sick. More information will be coming about the ERC building hours for those who wish to come and pray and the individual celebration of the sacrament of confession. I will continue to offer daily Mass privately for all of you, so know of my daily prayers. May the Lord’s peace abide with us!
Fr. Dan Oudenhoven