Archdiocese cancels last Pre-Synod Prayer and Listening Event, Men’s Conference

| March 13, 2020 | 0 Comments

The last Pre-Synod Prayer and Listening Event, scheduled for March 14, has been canceled out of concerns about the novel coronavirus, said Father Joseph Bambenek, assistant director of the Archdiocesan Synod.

The 9 a.m. to noon gathering at St. Alphonsus in Brooklyn Center was to have been the last of 20 such prayer and listening events with Archbishop Bernard Hebda and other archdiocesan officials. 

All 11 focus events with specific groups, such as priests and school leaders, have been held, Father Bambenek said.

Cancellation of the prayer and listening event occurred as other events across Minnesota were canceled. The annual Archdiocesan Men’s Conference scheduled for March 28 at St. Thomas Academy in Mendota Heights also was called off.

The cancellations also were announced before Gov. Tim Walz held a March 13 news conference announcing a peacetime state of emergency in Minnesota to help fight spread of the virus and the respiratory illness it causes, COVID-19. Among other steps, state officials urged canceling or postponing events of 250 or more people. They also suggested that people increase their personal distance from one another to help prevent spread of the virus.

Fourteen people in Minnesota have tested positive for the illness, and two were hospitalized, the governor said.

In light of the governor’s recommendations, Archbishop Hebda suggested to pastors and parish administrators that they could add Masses to keep the size of their congregations down, or cancel Masses if they deem that necessary. The archbishop already on March 12 had suspended the Sunday Mass obligation because of the virus.

Parishes also can guard against transfer of the virus by disinfecting pews, door handles and other contact surfaces, removing hymnals and other items and using a solo cantor and accompanist, temporarily suspending choirs, the archbishop said.

Any event with more than 250 people and without adequate space for social distancing should be canceled, the archbishop said. Some parishes have creatively turned their Lenten fish dinners into “to go” events, he said.

The keynote speaker for the Men’s Conference, Father Paul Scalia, son of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, was disappointed but not surprised by the cancellation, said Vincenzo Randazzo, evangelization manager of the Office of Marriage, Family and Life. Father Scalia also was open to speaking in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis in the coming year, Randazzo said.

Father Bambenek said people who hoped to attend the event at St. Alphonsus, and people across the archdiocese, will continue to have opportunities to have their voices heard as the archdiocese prepares for the Synod itself in 2021.  

“We are so grateful to the thousands of people who have participated,” to this point, Father Bambenek said, as well as to the Synod ambassadors in parishes and volunteers who helped put on the Pre-Synod Prayer and Listening Events. 


Tags: , ,

Category: Local News