Public Masses Resume Tuesday, May 26
Dear Parishioners and Friends of St. Peter & St. Martin of Tours Parishes,
With great joy I announce that Most. Rev. Donald J. Hying, Bishop of Madison, following State and Local Health Department Guidelines, will welcome the faithful back to Mass starting Tuesday, May 26th, 2020. This decision and the guidelines we’ll follow were put together in consultation with local authorities, Diocese of Madison clergy, and other experts. Please read the entirety of this letter and guide on the reverse, as there are some changes that you should expect when you return to your parish church.
Jesus Christ, Son of God and Savior of the World, came to invite us to be one with Him, and to follow Him as “the Way, the Truth, and the Life” (Jn 4:16). He gave us the two greatest commandments – Love of God and Love of Neighbor (cf. Mt 22: 36-40). Furthermore, from the beginning, the Lord endowed man with a gift unlike any other creature on earth – free will – the freedom for each individual to choose: life or death, good or evil, fidelity to God or sin, love or rejection, selflessness or selfishness. The Lord wants each of us to choose to love Him and love our neighbor, to choose to be close to the Lord and to seek the good of those around us. Every moment of our lives, including the situation we find ourselves in today is an opportunity to choose to be faithful to the Lord and make sacrifices for those around us – family, friends, neighbors, strangers, and even those whom with we disagree. As we persevere through these trying times, each person has to choose how they will care for their own health, and to respect and care for the health of those around them. As we return to Mass, I encourage you each to make prudent choices for yourselves, and to honor the precautions your neighbors in the pews are taking. Please also consider bringing a bulletin to family or neighbors who are not at Mass at this time.
The Lord wants us to come back to Mass to be with Him. Since many have been away from the Church for so long, and access to confession has been more difficult, it is important to remember that Jesus wants to meet us ready to receive Him in communion with a pure heart. I heartily encourage you to take advantage of the times for confession offered at our parishes. Jesus purifies us from our sins and failings in the mercy we find in the sacrament of confession. Please see the bulletin for confession times.
Outlined on the attached sheet are the practices the Bishop has directed us to employ at our parishes to help us come back to Mass in an orderly and safe manner. This is not to say that there are other practices that individuals may want to adopt given their personal circumstances. I ask that you prayerfully consider your individual choices and conduct when at the parish church, and be respectful of the choices that others are making for themselves and those around them, given their individual circumstances. Things that are not on the list of practices may be good for some or many, but not necessarily for all, and therefore are not included. This list is also balanced with the reverence that we must maintain in the Church as we come to worship the Lord in His holy temple, seeking Him as the community of believers. Understand that the changes made at both parishes aim to allow a larger number of people to more easily and safely return to Mass.
In the Peace of the Risen Lord,
Rev. Chris Gernetzke
Pastor, St. Peter Catholic Parish and School & St. Martin of Tours Parish