Area Catholic Masses suspended

In a directive Wednesday, March 18, the Rev. James B. Bissonette, diocesan administrator for the Diocese of Duluth, announced additional temporary measures to help stem the spread of COVID-19.

All public Masses are suspended through April 20. Priests may celebrate a private Mass without a congregation. In addition, the diocese has canceled all gatherings of more than 10 people and said even in smaller gatherings, those vulnerable or showing any signs of illness should stay home, and all present should practice good hygiene and “social distancing” policies such as remaining 6 feet apart.

The document also contains guidance for Holy Week liturgies, as well as questions regarding first Communions, confirmations and funerals.

Father Bissonette said confessions and office hours should continue to be made available on a regular basis, churches should be open for an extended period each day so people could come individually and pray, and reiterated guidance for keeping Sundays holy when Mass is not available. He said the clergy and faithful should continue to visit and care for the sick, including through providing the sacraments.

"I do not take these temporary measures lightly and I strongly encourage you, the Faithful and the Clergy, to do the same," Bissonette wrote. "Let us pray that I will be able to lift them soon, that we will remain safe and well as we stand with Mary at the foot of the Cross during this time of crisis, and that we will be able quickly to resume the public sharing of the Gospel and our Catholic faith."

He noted the measures could extend beyond April 20, or should conditions improve more rapidly than expected, they could be lifted at that time.

Gloria Dei suspends services

All services at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Pequot Lakes are suspended through April 4. Those with questions may call 218-820-5077.

Interfaith Volunteers expands services

Interfaith Volunteers is expanding its services in the Brainerd lakes area during the COVID-19 crisis to offer phone calls to the lonely, homebound and isolated who may need social contact.

The organization will continue to deliver groceries and medications, run errands and help in other ways.

Interfaith Volunteers is committed to helping people remain living safely and independently at home. For more information, call 218-820-7454.

Crosslake Presbyterian enacts digital worship

Crosslake Presbyterian Church, and many other churches, moved worship into the digital landscape, inviting parishioners to join in on services through Facebook live streams and online at the church’s website where the videos will be posted. Crosslake Presbyterian's service will be available live on Facebook at 10 a.m. Sundays.

This service has been shortened due to lack of call and response and music. The video of the service will then be posted at Crosslakepres.org. Videos will also be published to the church’s blog, allowing parishioners to subscribe to and receive updates on new videos and posts.

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