Just a bit from Fr. Schmidt – March 22, 2020

Keep Your Distance, but Stay Close to God

 

Even as we are told not to gather in groups of more than 10 people to prevent and slow the spread of COVID-19, and as opportunities for physical participation in the Church’s liturgy are not as readily available, we must strive all the more to draw close to God. Today, there are more resources than ever to keep us connected as a community of faith through the daily Mass readings (Magnificat has made their publication free online and on your phone), watching Mass online or on EWTN and the Bishop’s Sunday TV Mass, reading and studying the Scriptures and catechism in our homes, praying the Rosary and other devotions, spiritual reading, and making acts of Spiritual Communion.

 

Back in 1918 during the Spanish flu, when churches were closed and public gatherings canceled, there were not nearly as many resources available to the faithful of that time to remain connected and to grow in knowledge and love of their faith. I am hopeful that this time of reduced physical presence will be an opportunity for our desire and appreciation to grow. Many other areas of the world routinely have less access to Mass and the sacraments due to persecution or priests being spread too thin. We take a lot for granted, so I pray that this temporary absence will make our hearts grow fonder and more thankful.

 

Christ tells us, Pray at all times, without becoming weary (Luke 18:1). This is still possible and even more critically important when we are not able to gather together with the other members of our parish family. Mindful of God’s presence in each moment and situation, making frequent visits to His Presence in our tabernacles, and striving to bring all our thoughts, words, and actions into line with His saving will, we can deepen our spiritual lives and grow in grace and virtue even during these difficult times.

 

On a practical note, I still hope to keep something of my regular routine, to be in Hoven’s rectory from Monday evening until Wednesday evening each week and in Bowdle on Thursdays and Fridays. Confessions will still be available—as long as everyone is able to keep sufficient space between them in the pews—though the times may need modifying. Let’s plan on 10 am each Sunday in Bowdle and 6 pm every Monday in Hoven, for however long public Masses are suspended.

 

Take heart, dear ones. The Lord is with us still. It promises to be a very unique Lent and Easter this year, but it can also be one of the most grace-filled if we choose to use this time well.

NO Public Masses

Effective March 18, 2020 Bishop Donald DeGrood has issued a statement regarding the COVID-19 pandemic that the CDC is suggesting no more than 10 people in an area. There will be NO weekday nor weekend Masses along with other activities until further notice. To read more, go to sfcatholic.org. Please shelter in place.

Just a bit from Fr. Schmidt – March 15, 2020

The Contagion of Sin

 

I recently saw a meme saying that if you’ve ever wondered what it was like to live in the 14th century, you now have two popes and a plague spreading. “What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9). I’ve also seen reports during this past week that the coronavirus has reached South Dakota. It’s good to be prepared, to exercise caution, but not to be alarmed.

 

Washing your hands regularly and staying home when you are sick are still the most effective ways of preventing the spread of coronavirus and other illnesses. We’ve also refrained from the sign of peace—which is always optional—during Mass since the beginning of the flu season. As an additional precaution, I will also avoid shaking hands as I greet people after Mass. You may also think twice about using the holy water fonts, especially if you have a weakened immune system. Best to carry your own bottle of holy water with you for personal use.

 

Again, it’s best not to be alarmed, but it’s also our responsibility to act with the virtue of prudence and not to be superstitious about holy things. Holy water is holy, and it is also water, which many pathogens thrive in. As we just heard during one of the Sunday Gospels, “It is written, You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.” We should not count on divine protection if we aren’t bothering to take the necessary steps to protect ourselves naturally. Getting enough sleep, exercise, and having a healthy diet are also big helps to having a strong immune system.

As much as we should guard against physical disease and use prudent measures to prevent its spread, we should be even more concerned to avoid the spiritual contagion of sin and those things that lead us into sin. To be committed to a healthy diet and spiritual exercise of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Avoiding contact with sinful influences in our lives, and especially to encounter the mercy and forgiveness of God in the sacrament of Confession. As during Advent, I will be available both before and after the weekend Masses to hear Confessions as we prepare for Easter and strive to cast out the leaven of vice.

Holy Day of Obligation ~ Christmas

Tuesday December 24, 2019 

5:00 PM St Anthony, Hoven (Caroling 4:30 PM)

8:00 PM St Augustine, Bowdle (Caroling 7:30 PM)

Wednesday December 25, 2019

8:00 AM St John, Onaka

9:30 AM St Anthony, Hoven