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Just a bit from Fr Schmidt – May 10, 2020

Here’s the Plan: May 15
As we return to public celebrations of Mass in the following weeks, please be advised and abide by the following:

  • If you are sick or not feeling well—stay home. If you are not yet comfortable being in public—stay home.
  • Clean your hands often. Cover coughs & sneezes. Avoid close contact over extended periods of time. Keep a personal hand sanitizer with you as needed.
  • Family households may sit together, but social distancing should be maintained in Church between different households and individuals, in a reasonable manner.
  • To limit the number of people handling the gifts and vessels, we will go without altar servers, Mary’s helpers, and Extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion.
  • There is to be no Offertory procession, but one of the ushers may bring the collection forward when they finish and place it near the altar rail towards the right.
  • Only Father will distribute Holy Communion. Social distancing is to be maintained by the faithful as they receive Holy Communion, approaching in a SINGLE FILE LINE in the middle aisle.
  • If choir members and musicians are able to maintain proper social distancing in the choir loft, Holy Communion will be administered to them immediately following the conclusion of Mass or the recessional hymn. They should approach the altar after Mass as soon as they are ready.
  • Holy Communion WILL NOT be distributed in the hand to anyone wearing gloves. (Sidenote: gloves actually tend to be less sanitary, as we are usually able to wash/disinfect our hands more often than we wash or get a new pair of gloves.)
  • The exchange of the Sign of Peace remains suspended.
  • Church members are welcome to wear a face mask—but this is not mandatory and the decision to wear or not wear a mask should not be looked down upon—and any masks should be removed when about to receive Holy Communion.
  • There should be no social gatherings on parish or Church property after liturgies until further notice.
  • The Sunday Mass obligation for all Catholics of the Diocese remains dispensed by Bishop DeGrood until further notice. This measure is intended to affirm that individuals are relied upon to make the best decision for themselves about how much interaction with others is appropriate given their health and other considerations that are particular to them.

 

The above guidelines are subject to change. At this time, no member of the Church should feel pressured to return to public worship. I know many of our Church members who are going to wait a few weeks before deciding to return to Sunday Mass. The televised TV Mass with Bishop DeGrood will still be available on KELO every Sunday at 10am for you to participate from home. I say again—if you are not ready, or if you feel that the measures outlined above are inadequate—stay at home. If your main concern is the lack of distancing at the moment of Holy Communion, you do not have to receive or come forward at every Mass you attend.

 

By now everyone has learned a lot about practicing common sense and personal hygiene. Keep it up—stay safe—and trust in God!

 

 

Just a bit from Fr. Schmidt ~ April 12, 2020

Hungering for the Flesh of God

 

I definitely didn’t plan on spending my first Easter as a pastor of parishes in a general quarantine with public Masses suspended, but then, Fr. Kopel probably never planned to spend his last before retirement this way either. In his 43 years of priesthood, he says he’s never experienced anything like this. And it’s most difficult for those in nursing homes or alone at home unable to have visitors, unable to receive sacramentally the greatest Visitor of all, Jesus in the Most Holy Eucharist.
For all the graces that God is able to pour out through spiritual Communions, through knowledge of His presence everywhere and more particularly through His sanctifying grace in our souls, through the words of Scripture and prayer, there’s no denying that being unable to receive Jesus in sacramental Communion is a heavy cross that you’ve been asked to continue to bear even into the Easter season. But God is faithful. Whatever He asks of you, He will also give you the grace to bear.

We don’t often consider that for huge portions of the Church’s history, frequent Communion was not all that common. To receive at only the highest feasts, just a few times throughout the year—always after making a good Confession—was the much more typical practice. Otherwise, Catholics would attend Mass every Sunday or more often, praying for a Spiritual Communion almost every time. And yet, God raised up countless Saints in His Church during those centuries. His grace was never lacking to those willing to cooperate with it. And I’m sure each time they did receive Holy Communion was almost as memorable as their First.

There is a danger in anything frequent becoming merely routine. Hopefully this unique time gives us a chance to better reflect on the matchless Gift of the Most Holy Eucharist and not take for granted or pass over with indifference the God who took on Flesh that He might feed us with His very Self. “And whoever feeds on Me will have life because of Me. And I will raise him up on the last day” (Jn 6:57, 40).

Christ is risen! He is truly risen, never to die again. And He promises the same to all those who hope in His word, those who do not merely call Him “Lord, Lord,” but who put into practice what He commands (Cf. Lk 6:46; Mt 7:21). As difficult as it may be because of all that is happening, “do not be sad this day, for rejoicing in the Lord must be your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). Alleluia! Praise the Lord! Happy Easter to you and yours!

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