Three priests, volunteer test positive for COVID-19 at Annandale parish

| May 23, 2020 | 0 Comments

Three priests at St. Ignatius in Annandale and a volunteer at a parish Mother’s Day flower distribution have tested positive for COVID-19. All liturgies there are temporarily suspended.

Father John Meyer, who also is pastor of St. Timothy in Maple Lake, told parishioners in a posting on the parish website May 20 that Father Andrew Stueve, parochial vicar, tested positive for the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, and Father Meyer and former St. Paul Seminary rector Msgr. Aloysius Callaghan had developed virus-like symptoms and were being tested.

In a subsequent posting live May 23 on the parish website, Father Meyer said tests for the virus had come back and he, Msgr. Callaghan and the volunteer had tested positive and were in quarantine.

There will be no confessions at St. Timothy and no Wednesday eucharistic adoration at St. Ignatius as the priests recover, Father Meyer said.

The Mass will not be livestreamed from the parish May 23-24, but the priests hope to do so again soon, he said. Parishioners can go to the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis’ website for other livestreaming options at https://www.archspm.org/locations, he said.

The volunteer who helped distribute flowers wore gloves, tried to maintain social distancing and interactions with parishioners presumably were brief, Father Meyer said.

“I share this out of caution and concern for all of you but am hopeful there was minimal risk,” he said.

It was unfortunate the virus was contracted as parishes in the archdiocese prepare to offer Masses with congregations larger than 10 people, Father Meyer said.

“It is unfortunate timing that we were diagnosed now, when we could start to begin seeing all of you, even in a limited way, in the days ahead, but we know the delay is temporary and want to make sure we keep the virus from spreading,” he said.

“Know that we are looking forward eagerly to celebrating the sacraments with all of you and seeing all of you as soon as that is possible to do so in a healthy manner.”

As the priests recover, staff will continue to sanitize all parts of the church in preparation for public Masses and other gatherings, Father Meyer said.

The virus was not contracted at a large public gathering, Father Meyer said. The parish has carefully followed the guidelines issued by the archdiocese and health officials, he said.

The confirmed cases of COVID-19 may have been connected to a small, important gathering of 10 people or less where strong restrictions were in place, he said. A person or two from that gathering might have spread the virus to others with whom they interact regularly, he said.

Father Meyer also thanked parishioners for their prayers during this trying time.

“First, thank you so much for all of your expressions of concern and prayers for your fellow parishioners, the community, and clergy. They are deeply appreciated. I know we have received them from beyond our own parishes and beyond our own faith. We are grateful. Thank you for your support for each other and for us.  We are looking forward to being able to celebrate the Mass with all of you and spending time with all of you soon.”

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