Snow mass mean no Mass

| December 14, 2010 | 0 Comments


Cancel Mass?

“Never!” was the reply from New Brighton.

“No. Absolutely not!” came the response from St. Paul Park.

But both in the Twin Cities and in the outlying counties of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis dozens of parishes were forced to cancel weekend liturgies by the blizzard of Dec. 10 that downed the roof of the MetroDome.

Impassable roads, freezing temperatures and the danger to parishioners should they get stuck in the 15-to-20-inch snowfall were the main reasons parishes cancelled liturgies and activities both Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 12.

As uneven as the snowfall amounts were across the 12-county archdiocese so was the decision to hold or cancel Masses

An e-mail query of parishes Monday by The Catholic Spirit drew a mix of responses and a handful of good stories, including one about a deacon and his wife snowshoeing to church to ready it for a wedding!

Here’s a parish-by-parish sampling of our “Did your parish cancel Masses” question:

St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Paul Park:
No we did not cancel mass and had six envelopes at 5:00. I think we should have!

Cheri Dixon
Business Administrator

Our Lady of the Lake, Mound:
No. Absolutely not! Our pastor, Father Abraham George, lives in an adjoining rectory, so there is no reason not to have Mass. Wouldn’t it be sad if parishioners dug their cars out, driving twice the amount of time that they are used to, and then arriving to find out that there is no Mass? But I sure could see where a priest that has several parishes and needs to drive to another community would have a hard time doing that!

Actually, we had about 60 at Mass on Saturday at 5:30 pm. So I think that was a good turn out by some very dedicated parishioners!

Rhonda Eurich

St. Michael, Prior Lake:
The Church of St. Michael in Prior Lake did cancel the 5 p.m. Mass on Saturday because of the storm. The people who plow our parking lot could not clear it because, when they tried, it would fill with snow as soon as they finished an area. The sidewalks were equally impossible to clear. People would be sure to find it hard to park and hard to leave the lot. It would be dark when people left Mass, and we were concerned about people driving in the dark as the blizzard kept on. The greatest challenge was getting the word out. We were able to put it on our website and on the office answering message but radio and television told us they were swamped.  The two Sunday Masses were able to proceed pretty much as usual.

Father Tom Sieg

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Minneapolis:
We had a wedding Saturday. Deacon Mike (Powers) and I snow shoed in to open the church for the wedding. Father Tom (Margevicius) and Deacon Mike spent hours moving snow (our maintenance guy was on vacation). Many of the guests didn’t make it, but about 80 did.

We had a dish sprayer in the kitchen burst overnight Saturday resulting in a flooded kitchen and basement and much damage to the kitchen. Without being asked, one of our parishioners (Matt Villella) who plows for others plowed the streets in front of church for Sunday Mass.

Our Sunday doughnut delivery was canceled, but a family had brought in cake and fruit to celebrate a birthday. We only had 39 people at Mass, but we worshipped and even had birthday cake and coffee. God is always good and always present when we gather to worship.

Margery E. Powers
Parish Business and Pastoral Administrator

St. Charles Borromeo, St. Anthony:
St. Charles Borromeo in St. Anthony did not cancel Masses. We also did not cancel our communal penance service on Saturday.

Kathryn Tokar Haidet

St. John the Evangelist, Hopkins:
Nope, business as usual. Only 25 people at Sat. 5:00 Mass (normally 150), but a good 500+ at Our Lady of Guadalupe at 11 p.m. Sat.

Father James Liekhus

St. Joseph, Waconia:
We did not cancel any Masses, but did cancel faith formation classes on Sunday morning.
Sunday’s Confirmation meeting in the afternoon went on as scheduled.

Sandy Rosetter

St. Louis, King of France, St. Paul:
In response to your query, we did NOT cancel weekend Masses. Our church seats about 300 people. The 5 p.m. Saturday evening Mass, which is usually crowded, had only 12 participants. The 7 a.m., which is also always crowded, had 55. The 9:15 a.m. about 1/4 full; the 11:00 a.m. 77 people and the 12:30 p.m. almost a full church.

Father Paul F. Morrissey, S.M.

St. Pascal Baylon, St. Paul:
Yes all three of our Masses were cancelled this weekend.

MaryJo Luedtke

Lumen Christi, St. Paul:
We had a funeral Saturday morning with good attendance. We did cancel Saturday evening Mass. Sunday Masses were held with three Baptisms and their families all in attendance! One Godmother was not able to make it. First Reconciliation was held Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. along with our parish reconciliation service. Most were able to attend, a few were trapped at home. We had a deadline of our parish gift-giving this weekend, and parishioners have made great efforts to bring in their gifts on Friday and Monday. We are hardy Minnesotans!

Michaela Bisanz
Office Manager & Communications Director

St. Michael, West St. Paul:
For what is believed to be the first time, our Perpetual Adoration Chapel needed to be closed. Masses went on as scheduled.

Linda Rivera
Parish Secretary

St. Michael, St. Michael:
St. Michael, St. Michael had to cancel its Sunday School and preschool Christmas program scheduled for after the 10:30 a.m.

Mass on Sunday. All scheduled Masses went on as usual however; 5 p.m. Mass on Saturday night we were very light and 6 p.m.

Mass on Sunday night was heavier than usual.

St. Thomas the Apostle (Stillwater Road), St. Paul:
We are clustered with Blessed Sacrament in St. Paul, and they had to cancel their 4 p.m. Mass because of plowing concerns, and we cancelled our 5 p.m. Mass due to the weather as well. Both Masses were celebrated on Sunday, but the attendance was very, very low. All in all, wasn’t it a fun weekend? Let do it more often!

Mary Trcka

St. Mary and St. Michael, Stillwater:
I’m pleased to say that at St. Mary’s and at St. Michael’s in Stillwater, our wonderful maintenance staff cleared all of the paths and parking lots in time for a 2 p.m. wedding at St. Michael’s and for all of the Masses at both churches on Saturday.  We are truly blessed to have such a dedicated crew.

Julia Tollafield
Communications & Development Coordinator

St. Stephen, Minneapolis:
Not a chance. All Masses happened, though the start time may have been a little later than usual.

Genevieve Fiedler
Business Administrator

St. Bernard, St. Paul:
We cancelled our 5pm Mass as well as The Master Singers concert on Saturday night.  On Sunday we had to cancel our buses for bringing the refugees to Mass. We also cancelled our St. Vincent de Paul Free Store and flu shot clinic on Sunday.

Kim Serva
Parish secretary

Immaculate Conception, Lonsdale:
We didn’t have any parish activities scheduled for the weekend, but we had a pot luck supper after Mass, in celebration of our patron, Immaculate Conception, on Wednesday, Dec. 8, which was well attended. Last year it was not because of a snowstorm.

Father Troy Przybilla did celebrate Mass at 5 p.m. on Saturday. There were 12 people there. He said that was the smallest crowd he ever had for Mass on a weekend. The Masses on Sunday morning were not well attended, and a Baptism scheduled for Sunday was cancelled. Their relatives were not able to come.

Betty Vosejpka

St. Mary of the Lake, White Bear Lake:
We had all our Masses but cancelled our middle school basketball tournament.

Mary Scherping
Parish Administrator

St. Patrick, Shieldsville; Divine Mercy, Faribault:
Father Kevin Finnegan, pastor of Divine Mercy in Faribault, St. Patrick in Shieldsville and St. Michael in Kenyon did cancel some Masses this weekend.

Divine Mercy and St. Patrick’s Saturday evening Masses were all cancelled. Kenyon does not have a Saturday evening Mass.
Sunday Masses were held at Divine Mercy and St. Patrick but cancelled in Kenyon.

Tracy Velishek
Office Administrator

St. Cyril, Minneapolis:
We cancel on Saturday, Dec 11 at 4:30 pm Mass and Sunday, Dec. 12 at 7:30 a.m. and 9 a.m., but we had a great Celebration for Our Lady Guadalupe at 10:30 a.m.

Nativity of Our Lord, St. Paul:
Nativity of Our Lord, St. Paul, did not cancel any Masses. The school gym was closed, but we still had a scheduled concert at 2 p.m.

St. Victoria, Victoria:
We did not cancel Masses at St. Victoria and, in fact, had a couple Baptisms as well. In addition, the Holy Family Catholic High School had their annual Christmas Concert at our church Sunday evening.

Mary Harvey
Bulletin editor

St. Lawrence Church and Newman Center, Minneapolis:
No, we followed the usual schedule with surprisingly good attendance. ‘Course many University students walk.

Father Patrick Johnson CSP

St. Francis and St. James, St. Paul:
No Masses were canceled over the weekend. About 70 people came to the Our Lady of Guadalupe Mass and dinner on Saturday night. The dinner was organized by our Hispanic Community.

Pam Gripman
Administrative Assistant

St. John the Baptist, New Brighton:
Never! No, we held all scheduled Masses, even a funeral on Saturday morning. Our maintenance crew did a fantastic job, as usual, in plowing the parking lot and shoveling the sidewalks.

I was surprised that we had over 100 people at the 4:30 p.m. Saturday Mass. Our priests live close by, so there was no problem with us getting to church!

Father Michael Skluzacek

St. Mary of the Purification, Marystown:
Yes! The severe weather (with 21 ½ inches of snow in Shakopee) changed several things here at Marystown church. We were going to have a craft sale on Saturday, from 6 to 9 p.m. and a 7 p.m. Mass. Both the Mass and the sale were cancelled. Also, on Sunday, we were going to have a parish Christmas party after our 10 a.m. Mass, and both the Mass and the Christmas party were cancelled. We did have a Word and Communion service on Sunday morning for the few people who came to church. On our website, we posted that the Saturday evening Mass was cancelled due to the snow.

Betty Schroers
Office Manager

St. Francis of Assisi, Lake St. Croix Beach:
Happy Winter! No we did not cancel Masses this weekend. On Saturday at 5 p.m. Mass. We only had four people. On Sunday at the 8:30 a.m. Mass, we celebrated Mass in our chapel and filled it up. On Sunday at the 10:30 a.m. Mass, we celebrated Mass in the main church and had a full church.

Mary Wyzykowski
Parish Secretary

St. Michael, Kenyon:
Our Faith Formation Director lives about two blocks from church so she was able to get there Sunday morning and do a Communion Service (yes, she is commissioned). Our priest comes from Faribault, and there was no way he could make it as the roads were not plowed. Six people were present for the Communion Service – three of which live in the country. How they got to church is still a mystery!

Our faith formation Christmas program and annual Women’s breakfast did get postponed until next Sunday.

St. Alphonsus, Brooklyn Center:
St. Alphonsus did not cancel Masses. Attendance down for Sunday morning, but up for Sunday afternoon Masses.
Faith formation classes were cancelled for Saturday and Sunday.

Our Lady of Guadalupe: Mananitas, 5 a.m. Sunday was well-attended, as were all the Guadalupe events on Sunday.

Kathy Nylander

St. Agnes, St. Paul:
The Church of St. Agnes did not cancel Masses. With the priests living on campus, nothing prevented us from offering Mass, though we did so without the benefit of music on Saturday evening, as the organist could not make it. Attendance was seven people for the Saturday anticipatory Mass (5:15p.m.); 30 for the early 6:30 a.m. Sunday, and then picked up from there! The 8:30 and 10 were still much smaller than usual, but by the 12 noon Mass, we had a congregation a bit larger than average. It is a challenge, with people coming from all directions. We did our best to plow out. I even operated the tractor for about 90 minutes on Saturday, and enjoyed it!

We cancelled donuts, Youth Group, a parish Adult Latin class, sung Vespers in the afternoon- essentially everything except Mass. Attendance grew larger for the later Masses. People are hearty and in my judgment made real sacrifices to get here, but seemed happy to do so.

Father John Ubel

St. Richard, Richfield:
St. Richard’s in Richfield canceled our Anticipatory Mass on Saturday evening, Dec. 11.

Nicole Adams Blume

St. John Vianney, South St. Paul:
No we didn’t cancel anything. Even a little snow didn’t stop us from worshiping our Lord!

Patti Beaudoin

St. Margaret Mary, Golden Valley:
We cancelled Confessions (3:30 p.m.) and Mass (4:30 p.m.) on Saturday. There was a good size crowd on Sunday (10 a.m.)

Margaret Knowles
Business Administrator

St. Joseph, Lino Lakes:
We did cancel our 4:30 p.m. Mass on Saturday and we had to find a replacement priest for our Sunday 10 a.m. service (the assigned priest was “plowed in”).

Lynn Kotecki

Holy Name, Minneapolis:
Two Sundays a year we do an intergenerational learning program called G.I.F.T. (Growing In Faith Together) on various aspects of our Catholic faith. On these two Sundays we have only one 10 a.m. Mass instead of Masses at 8:30 and 11 a.m. Following Mass we share a meal and learn together.

Last Sunday, Bishop Piché was scheduled to headline our G.I.F.T. event. Besides presiding at 10:Mass, he was to speak about “Living A Eucharistic Life.” Unfortunately, G.I.F.T. was cancelled (or perhaps just postponed), and Bishop Piché was not able to be with us. We still did have 10 Mass with our pastor, Father Leo Schneider, presiding. We hope to reschedule with Bishop Piché.

Paul Krenzelok
Director of Faith Formation

St. Rita, Cottage Grove:
St. Rita’s in Cottage Grove cancelled our First Reconciliation service at 11 a.m. and our 5 p.m. Mass. Our snowplow company plowed once and informed us they could not keep up and pulled their drivers out on Saturday afternoon. We called all lay Eucharistic ministers, musicians, altar servers, ushers, put the information on our voice mail and web site. Father Bill (Deziel) blocked the driveways so cars could not enter. (They would have gotten stuck). He waited around to see if anyone got through, he would have held Mass if anyone had come, but they did not.

We have a policy for faith formation that we cancel if school District 833 cancels. We put the information out on WCCO. Adult activities are cancelled at the program directors discretion in consultation with the pastor/business administrator.

Maureen O’Kane
Business Administrator

Risen Savior, Burnsville:
At Risen Savior we did not cancel our 5 p.m. Mass as our Associate Pastor was in the building, however we only had 30 in attendance. We did cancel activities that were planned as a vigil for the Guadalupe Mass that was held the next day at 3 p.m.

Marilyn Lyden
Administrative and Liturgy Assistant

St. Therese, Deephaven:
We did not cancel Mass. We operate under the guidance that even if one person would show for Mass – and there will always be someone in their 90’s in a walker who will show up – so we should have Mass for them.

We did have only a fraction of our normal Saturday attendance. Sunday attendance at our two Masses was just slightly less than normal.

Edward “Ed” Smith
Parish Business Administrator

St. Albert the Great, Minneapolis:
We did not cancel anything. Our pastor, Father Joe Gillespie, was stuck in Detroit Saturday night and didn’t make it back until Sunday afternoon, but we can generally count on coverage from others in the Dominican Priory attached to the church. Our Saturday 5 p.m. Mass had five people so we held it in the chapel. Sunday we had about 80 (instead of 150-200) – and most of those came down to the Social Hall for the Parish Breakfast which had been scheduled and prepared, and the accompanying Rosary Altar Society Holiday Boutique and Bake Sale, which managed to do $400 worth of sales. We seem to be a pretty plucky group!

Erin Sim
Office manager

Cathedral of St. Paul:
The Cathedral did not cancel Mass or Confessions.  We did cancel our programs and workshops.

Alejandra Hall

St. Timothy, Maple Lake:
No, we did not cancel Masses … or anything else for that matter.

Father Michael Izen

St. Timothy, Blaine:
Here at St. Timothy’s in Blaine, we did not cancel any liturgies. In fact, we had a funeral Saturday morning, which was attended by about 70 people.

Saturday’s 5pm Mass was attended by about only 80 people.  (On average, about 550 people attend at that time.)  We had a retired priest scheduled to preside, but he couldn’t get out of his driveway, so our pastor rearranged his schedule, and ended up presiding at all four of the weekend’s liturgies, rather than the two he had originally planned to.

Despite the low attendance, I’d have to say, we had beautiful liturgies. Although we didn’t need (or employ) as large a crew of extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist at some of the Masses, it was inspiring that we still had enough lay liturgical volunteers to cover everything needed (including the other liturgical ministries of lector, usher, servers, etc.) at all four liturgies (…a real testament to the great heart and dedication of our volunteers)!

A group of our confirmation candidates did drive down to the House of Charity to fulfill one of their service projects on Sunday morning.

A “Santa’s Workshop” family activity scheduled for Saturday morning was canceled. That is the only event I’m aware of that was canceled, but certainly understand why other parishes would have canceled liturgies or activities. The weather and roads were pretty scary!

Bill Steffl

Sacred Heart, Rush City:
No, we still had Masses both Saturday and Sunday.

Annunciation, Minneapolis:
Annunciation Church in Minneapolis did indeed hold all three weekend Masses this past weekend. On Friday we sent out word and canceled our Saturday morning First Reconciliation Service. Attendance at the Masses was lighter than normal.

Father Jim Himmelsbach

St. Bonaventure, Bloomington:
Yes, we did cancel the 4:30 and 7:30a.m. and had a Liturgy in the absence of a priest for the 9 and finally had an 11 a.m. when our substitute priest could get through the snow.

Joan DeLuney

Corpus Christi, Roseville:
Canceled Saturday confessions and evening Mass.

Had a service in the absence of the priest at the earlier hour, 8:30.

Small congregation at 10:30 Mass, after celebrant arrived.

Father Frank Fried

St. Peter Claver, St. Paul:

Liturgies went on as usual here at St. Peter Claver Church this past weekend. But our religious education classes and a special program called “Church Search” for our First Communion classes, plus a “Sing Along” with our choir (all scheduled on Sunday) were cancelled.

Jane Mitchell
Parish Administrative Assistant

Incarnation/Sagrado Corazon, Minneapolis:

(Excerpted from pastor Father Kevin McDonough’s column in the parish bulletin.)

I teased many of you at Masses last weekend, saying that you were crazy to come to church in the midst of blizzard conditions. I hope that you could hear, underneath my sometimes inappropriate humor, the admiration I have for you.

Over 150 people made it to the Incarnation Masses in English – a special thanks to Father Robert Monaghan who came to the 9:30 Mass in spite of falling face first in the snow in front of his home!

Permit me to note with special pride the incredible turn-out of Sagrado Corazon members for the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe – about 3,000 people (yes, 3000!) came to five Masses on Saturday night and throughout the day on Sunday.

I was overwhelmed to come into the church at 5:15 on Sunday morning and find that there were over 100 people already waiting and praying. In fact, one group had stayed in the building all night just to make sure we could open in the morning. You are such a testimony of faith.  I thank you and honor you.

It’s not a sin to miss Mass due to the weather

A Minneapolis pastor offered his parishioners some rules of thumb for future weekends when weather or other circumstances make attendance at Mass difficult, if not impossible. Franciscan Father Anthony Criscitelli wrote the following for his parish bulletin at St. Bridget.

We never cancel Mass due to the weather.  Since I live on-site, the church will always be open on those days when a Mass is scheduled.

However, when weather or other conditions make it difficult or impossible to get to Mass, you are released of the obligation to attend.  Neither God nor I nor your family want you to endanger yourself by going out in severe weather conditions.

On days when you cannot get to Mass because of weather, illness, or other circumstances, make time at home to pray and give thanks to God for the blessings of the week.  Individually or as a family read and reflect on the Scriptures of the day; watch a televised Mass on TV or listen to one on the radio.

Remember, it is not a sin to miss Mass under circumstances such as these.  Following these simple, common-sense steps will keep you safe and within the embrace of our good and loving God.  In the meantime, let’s pray that Old Man Winter gives himself a well-deserved rest and that we will enjoy less dramatic weather

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