CATHOLIC PARISHES TO RESUME PUBLIC MASSES
The Catholic Parishes of the City of Winona will resume public Masses, with a limited schedule, on the weekend of June 13-14.
Because of coronavirus concerns, the number of worshipers will be limited to no more than 25% of capacity. According to Fr. Mark McNea, Rector of the Cathedral, "As we begin public Masses, the safety of everyone involved is paramount. Parishioners are invited to register to attend and once the limit is reached, they can consider another Sunday Mass. Attending daily Mass is also an option." Bishop John Quinn of the Diocese of Winona-Rochester has dispensed Catholics from attending Sunday Mass for the time being, and individuals older than 65 or living with underlying conditions are encouraged not to attend.
During the last few months, many worship services have been available via live stream - a service which will likely be available in the future. St. Mary's pastor Fr. Mike Cronin said that the "virtual Masses" have been well received. "It's not easy to look out at empty pews. I know we pastors want to see the folks and I know that people want to get back to regular attendance, but we all agree that we want to do our best to protect the health and safety of everyone who walks through the doors of any parish church in Winona."
The Diocese recently made available to pastors a list of protocols and recommendations to be considered by each parish, which can be found at www.dowr.org. "The protocols are important and each parish will follow them according to their specific circumstances," said Fr. Patrick Arens, Rector of the Basilica. Fr. Arens noted that appropriate signs will be posted related to social distancing and the wearing of face coverings, as well as other protocols for worship at this time. As new information is learned about COVID-19, and with the guidance of the Minnesota Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control, plans are subject to change.