Click here to Schedule Reception of Holy Communion

During the Easter Season, Fr. Meyers will be visiting parishioners in their home who wish to receive Holy Communion.  Please note that Archbishop Hebda is allowing for people to receive the Eucharist only once during the Easter Season until public attendance at Mass is permitted again.  Also, please do not invite neighbors or other family members who do not reside in your home to join for Holy Communion.


Click here for all Youth Formation and Ministry Updates

“Answer when I call, my saving God. In my troubles, you cleared a way; show me favor; hear my prayer… Know that the Lord works wonders for the faithful; the Lord hears when I call out…trust in the Lord.” –Ps 4: 2, 4, 6b


Click here to Become a Regular Electronic Contributor

The form can be submitted to the parish electronically by emailing our bookkeeper, Jody Klaphake, at jody.klaphake@stfxb.org. For those who are not comfortable sending this information electronically, it can be mailed to our parish office.


Click here to Become a Temporary Electronic Contributor

Please note, that any donation that is made this way will come with a 3% charge to the parish. This link will also only be available during the duration of the COVID-19 Pandemic.


Parish News (4/7/20)

Sacred Triduum Schedule

The holiest days of the year are upon us and begin with Holy Thursday and last through Holy Saturday.  Due to the COVID-19 pandemic we regrettably cannot have the public join us for the liturgies, but they will be celebrated as originally scheduled with liturgical ministers in attendance.  Three of our RCIA candidates have chosen to proceed forward with becoming Catholic at the Easter Vigil while the other candidates will schedule a later date in which they will join us in the Church.

Ordinarily, confession is suspended during the Triduum, but I am choosing to continue hearing confessions this year based on the unique circumstances. For those who would like to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation prior to Easter Sunday, you may do so in the church at the following times:

  • Holy Thursday from 4:30-5:30 p.m.
  • Good Friday from 6:00-7:00 p.m.
  • Holy Saturday from 3:00-4:30 p.m.

I highly encourage everyone to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation during these holy days as a way of drawing nearer to the Lord and experiencing in a real way the saving and healing power of His Passion.

Easter Sunday Mass at St. Francis Xavier School

I am pleased to announce that we received permission from the Archdiocese and the City of Buffalo to hold Mass on Easter Sunday morning in our school’s parking lot.  The Mass will be broadcast on KRWC AM 1360 for people to listen to it.  Based on the guidelines from the Archdiocese and the recommendations of civil authorities, all who attend Mass on Easter Sunday will need to remain in their vehicles with the windows rolled up.  We will make a sanctuary at the school’s main entrance and everyone is asked to park facing towards the school building starting at 9:45 a.m. on Easter Sunday morning; Mass will begin at 10:30 a.m..  The Knights of Columbus have generously agreed to help direct traffic for all who are attending.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are regrettably unable to distribute Communion to people in their vehicles at this Mass, but I encourage everyone who is able to do so to join us at Mass as the grace of being physically present (even under unusual circumstances) at the Sacrifice of the Mass is beyond our imagination.  Participation in the Mass is not limited to the reception of the Eucharist and, as Vatican II teaches, “Christ is present when the Church prays and sings for He promised: ‘Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them'” (Sacrosanctum concilium, 7).

We will also have a table with a basket on it for people to drop their Easter offering into it as they exit the parking lot following Mass.  Please join me in thanking all who have made it possible for us to come together for Mass on Easter Sunday, as well as in praying for good weather that morning.

Holy Wednesday Holy Hour

Please join us tomorrow at the school’s parking lot for an hour of Eucharistic Adoration beginning at 7:00 p.m.  As I mentioned in the instructions for Mass on Easter Sunday, please plan on parking so that the vehicle is facing towards the school.  As a refresher of some ideas on what to do while praying in the car, I would recommend the following practices:

  • Sing songs in praise of God
  • Read from the Bible and even have people share a thought on what the passage means to them (suggested passages are John 6:22-71, Luke 22:7-38, and Matthew 18:15-20)
  • Pray the rosary
  • Pray the Stations of the Cross
  • Share some silence with each other and look lovingly on the Lord in the Eucharist (even for just 60 seconds)

I will plan on processing through the parking lot with the Eucharist to offer benediction to each vehicle’s inhabitants beginning at approximately 7:45 p.m. tomorrow evening.

Communion Visits During the Easter Season

We will be sending an email to all households that we have in our database with a SignUp Genius for people to receive Holy Communion during the Easter Season.  I will also be posting the link to that signup on our website.  Please remember that the Archbishop has permitted priests to bring people Communion once during the Easter Season until the suspension of public Masses is no longer in effect.

-Fr. Meyers

Parish News (4/4/20)

Palms Available Tomorrow Beginning at Noon

A number of our families came this evening to receive palms for Palm Sunday and it went very well.  I want to thank everyone for respecting our social distancing protocols during this event and, more importantly, for the opportunity to see so many of you again and have a chance to visit even if briefly.  For those who are coming tomorrow, be sure not to congregate with fellow parishioners so that our parish, but do feel free to acknowledge each other and greet each other in passing or from afar.

Easter Sunday Masses

I am working on the logistics to be able to have Mass held in the school parking lot and will communicate our plans for Easter Sunday as soon as we have them figured out.  I am hopeful that we will be able to gather together for Mass on the day of the Lord’s Resurrection, so please pray that the details work out to allow for this to occur.

Communion in Easter

As mentioned earlier this week, Archbishop Hebda has made allowance for the faithful to receive Holy Communion once during the Easter Season until public access to Mass is again restored.  I will be sending an email to our households as well as posting a link on this page on Holy Wednesday this week that will have the information on how to signup for this opportunity and encourage everyone to take advantage of the opportunity to receive the Lord in the Eucharist during this unique period of time.  Be sure to keep your eye out for the information that will be delivered on Holy Wednesday.

Looking for a Good Movie to Watch?

Another installment in our “Father Recommends” series is now available, so take a peak and see if you’re interesting in checking out another film.

-Fr. Meyers

Parish News (4/3/20)

Picking Up Palms From the Church

In just one more day, we will begin our observance of Holy Week.  As a friendly reminder, all parishioners are able to join at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday and 12:00 noon on Sunday to pick up palms from the church.  I will be distributing the palms to families at these times from our church’s main entrance using protective gloves.  Please remember to maintain proper social distancing by coming forward to receive the palms only after the family before you has already left area.

Eucharistic Adoration on Holy Wednesday

While Holy Wednesday usually doesn’t draw much attention in our observance of Holy Week, it actually is a day I hold dear as it was on Holy Wednesday of 2006 that I heard God call me to enter the seminary and pursue a priestly vocation.  I would like to invite all of our parishioners to join us at 7:00 p.m. on Holy Wednesday in our school’s parking lot for a time of Eucharistic adoration.  People will be invited to pray in their cars and, beginning at 7:45 that evening, I will process to each car and offer benediction to the people inside it.

I imagine many may be wondering what to do for a holy hour in a car, so here are some suggestions:

  • Sing songs in praise of God
  • Read from the Bible and even have people share a thought on what the passage means to them (suggested passages are John 6:22-71, Luke 22:7-38, and Matthew 18:15-20)
  • Pray the rosary
  • Pray the Stations of the Cross
  • Share some silence with each other and look lovingly on the Lord in the Eucharist (even for just 60 seconds)

I would certainly commend people to offer this time of prayer for an end to the COVID-19 pandemic.  God bess you all and have a wonderful Holy Week.

-Fr. Meyers

Parish News (4/2/20)

A Taste of Spring

I am proud to announce that earlier today we were determined that our Catholic school’s annual fundraiser, Spring Fever, will be held online this May.  While we will miss the originally scheduled gathering for April 18th, everyone in the parish and our larger community will have the opportunity to support our students and school staff by taking part in our first (and hopefully last) virtual gala from May 11th-May 17th.  Our newly revised theme will be “Spring Fever Reliever”–we’ll stand together even while staying apart.  Be sure to keep a close eye on our webpage and our school’s Facebook page for forthcoming details.  In the meantime, we are asking everyone to think of fun, exciting items and events to donate for our online auction to help continue Catholic education in our parish.

Confessions Are Back

It was a real pleasure to once again be able to offer the Sacrament of Reconciliation this afternoon after nearly a week of not doing so since Gov. Walz’s stay at home order went into effect.  I am grateful for Archbishop Hebda’s most recent clarifications that make it clear he wants all priests to continue hearing confessions in a manner that protects the physical well-being of people while also securing the salvation of everyone’s soul.  Everyone is encouraged to come to the church for confessions during our scheduled times, being careful to respect social distancing guidelines while doing so.

Contributing to Our Parish

We have now had two weekends since the public’s access to Mass has been suspended, which is certainly a difficult situation for each of us.  I am grateful for the opportunities I have had to provide the sacraments to people outside of Mass, but there certainly is nothing equivalent to actually assembling together at the Lord’s command.  During this difficult time, we have seen an expected decline in our parish’s revenue.  Every parish, ours included, depends on the Sunday collections to be able to fulfill our mission to God and His people.  As we realize our Easter collection, one of our largest financial contributions to our parish, is likely to be greatly reduced due to people’s inability to come to Mass this year, I want to encourage everyone to help promote electronic giving for our parish.  At the top of this page there are two links: one to become a regular electronic giver and the other to become a temporary electronic giver during this period in which public Masses are suppressed.  I thank all of you for helping to fund the work of our parish.

Witness to Hope

As we prepare for Holy Week, I am reminded of our great pope, St. John Paul II, who was such an inspiration to so many people in our world.  Over and over again, His Holiness used his pontificate to remind us of the Lord’s command: “Be not afraid” (Luke 8:50).  These words are spoken throughout the Scriptures, both in the Old and New Testament, as a steady litany of assurance and peace from God to each of us in our trials.  In honor of our late pontiff, I would like to invite everyone to take some time between now and Palm Sunday to spend a few minutes in prayer with these words, allowing Jesus Christ to speak to us through them and remove the fears that may be occupying our minds and hearts at this time.

Parish News (4/1/20)

Public Masses Suspended Through Easter Octave

Earlier today, Archbishop Hebda provided directives to the priests of the Archdiocese regarding the celebration of the sacraments.  As I imagine many expected due to the most recent round of reports from the federal government and their health care officials, we sadly will not be able to hold Masses in our church for the public to attend as we come to celebrate the great feast of Easter and it appears likely that this will remain the case for some time.  However, the Archbishop did state that a public Mass may be celebrated outdoors provided, in his words, “the congregation remain in their vehicles with windows rolled up, and Holy Communion is distribute only to those serving at that liturgy (deacon, lector, cantor, etc.).”  In order to make this arrangement, we will need to clear these plans with the local city authorities and the Director of the Archdiocesan Office of Worship.

As a result, should we be able to make arrangements for Mass to be held outside on Easter Sunday, those who attend will not be able to receive Holy Communion at this Mass.  Archbishop Hebda has asked the priests of the Archdiocese to remind people of the value of participating in the Mass even when unable to receive Holy Communion.  To this end, I would like to draw everyone’s attention to the Church’s teachings on the Eucharist found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church found in paragraphs 1322-1419.  In particular, even when we cannot receive Communion, our attendance at Mass allows us to fulfill Christ’s command to “Do this in memory of me” (Lk 22:19); our very presence at Mass allows us to still participate in the saving act of Christ’s love.

I will look into how we could arrange to have Mass together on Easter Sunday as the Archbishop’s directives allow and will post here on what we are able to pursue in this regard.

Distribution of Holy Communion

The Archbishop states in his directives that the Eucharist should be distributed to the sick and dying outside of Mass as well as that “Holy Communion may otherwise be distributed outside of Mass only in extreme pastoral need.”  In distributing the Eucharist, each priest is to follow the most current directions from the CDC in order to reduce the risk of transmitting COVID-19 in such a celebration.  Per the Archbishop’s directives, the faithful are permitted to make an appointment with the pastor to receive Holy Communion “privately once in the Easter Season (while the suspension of public Masses continues).”

In order to allow the faithful to receive Holy Communion during the Easter Season, I will be sending a SignUp Genius to all of the emails for parishioners that we have on file to permit this to take place; please note that the Archbishop’s directives seem to indicate that each person may only receive Holy Communion once during Easter until public Masses are resumed.

Eucharistic Adoration

Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament can continue and we are also able to arrange for a public exposition of the Eucharist provided the CDC social distancing guidelines are followed.  We will continue to keep the Eucharist in the tabernacle of the Christ the King Adoration Chapel for people until 4:00 p.m. on Holy Thursday, when we will remove the Blessed Sacrament in preparation for the Sacred Triduum.

As a way of helping to draw us together in worship of the Eucharist, I will be holding a Holy Hour next Wednesday, April 8th from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.  in our school parking lot.  Anyone who wishes to come and take part in this hour of prayer is welcomed to do so, but we will ask people to remain in their cars and pray either as a family or as an individual; I will process with the Eucharist to give benediction to each car beginning at 7:45 p.m. that evening.

Palm Sunday

The Archbishop has granted priests the ability to bless and distribute palms to the faithful provided the distribution follows social distancing guidelines.  Accordingly, I will be distributing palms to people from our church’s Gathering Space at the following times:

  • Saturday, April 4th at 6:00 p.m.
  • Sunday, April 5th at 12:00 noon

I will be just inside of the Gathering Space doors and ask that only one household enter into the church at each time; if the weather permits, I will distribute the palms from outside the doors.

Holy Thursday and Good Friday

The liturgies of Holy Thursday and Good Friday are not open to the public.  However, based on the directions the Archbishop has provided, it seems possible for individuals to join in these liturgies provided that social distancing is followed and the total number in attendance (including those serving in liturgical roles) does not exceed ten people.  I am going to consult with the relevant people at the Archdiocese to determine if this is indeed the correct reading.

The Washing of the Feet on Holy Thursday will be omitted this year and an extra intercession will be added on Good Friday for the end to the pandemic.  In venerating the Cross on Good Friday, only the principal celebrant may kiss it and all others are to offer a non-contact reverence such as a genuflection or bow.

Easter Vigil

The Archbishop has granted pastors the authority to bring those who have gone through RCIA into the Church at the Easter Vigil, provided the CDC social distancing requirements are followed.  I will be reaching out to all of our RCIA candidates to let them know that they are able to receive the sacraments at the Easter Vigil this year should they wish to proceed at this time.  For those who do not wish to receive the sacraments at the Easter Vigil, a date will be scheduled for them to receive them during a Sunday Mass when the social distancing requirements have changed.

Confirmation

The Archdiocese has cancelled all of the Confirmation Masses that were scheduled for April, including our very own on April 14th.  Each parish now has the choice to either hold the Confirmation Mass in its own church with the pastor administering the sacrament or to schedule another date with the Archdiocese’s Office of Worship at the Cathedral or Basilica.  We will review these options and contact all of the families who have an eighth or ninth grader preparing to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation this year.

The Sacrament of Confession

The Archbishop clarified that priests are to continue offering the Sacrament of Confession.  I will resume hearing confessions in our church’s sacristy starting tomorrow (Thursday, April 2nd) at 4:30 p.m.  For a complete guide to our confession schedule, please see our special COVID-19 liturgy schedule page here.

Looking Toward Easter

These are indeed trying times for our parish as they are for many other people.  Perhaps, in a very acute way, we are experiencing the reality of the Cross, but it is important to remember that those who embrace and carry the Cross will be following the Lord and will surely rise in Him to a future glory.  My sincere prayer is that our parish and our school will come through this ordeal holier and stronger.  I will continue to see how it is that I can be present to each of you in a true and human way, not just in a virtual way.  Please join me in praying for an end to the pandemic and a renewal of our Catholic fervor.

-Fr. Meyers

Parish News (3/31/20)

Making the Rounds

As Gov. Walz’s executive order for Minnesotans to stay at home went into effect this past weekend, we needed to suspend our previous arrangement for people to receive the Eucharist in our parking lot while waiting in their cars.  Nevertheless, our parish has continued to make the Sacrament of Life available to those who are desiring as I began traveling to different homes this past Saturday.  I thoroughly enjoyed each of my visits with families in our parish and am grateful for their requests to have me come bring the Eucharist to them.  I will actually be heading out again shortly to make a few more visits this evening and have others setup for this week, but there are still openings in my calendar for others to join in this offering of Holy Communion.  If you would like to receive the Eucharist during this time, please email me at nate.meyers@stfxb.org.

Holy Week

It is hard to believe that Holy Week begins this coming Sunday with Palm Sunday.  I anticipate hearing from the Archdiocese no later than tomorrow on how we can celebrate this most holy of weeks here in our parish.  We already had ordered and received our palms before all of the social changes hit us, so I’m hoping I can find a way to make the palms available for people.  Additionally, it looks like we’ll be able to make the Sacrament of Confession available again so people can obtain those graces prior to Easter Sunday.  I will be sure to post our Holy Week offerings as soon as we have them determined, so please continue to check this page for those updates.

Learning Opportunities

I received a question from one of our Catholic school students last week and decided to post a video on the STFX School Facebook page, which I will keep doing since we can’t have direct connections with each other at this time.  I’ll also start posting some teaching videos on our parish website this week, so keep looking on our website for opportunities to learn.  In addition, our parish does have a subscription to Formed, which is a great online source with tons of videos and materials for people to grow in their knowledge of the Catholic faith.  All you need to do to access the content is enter our parish code: 07d3b3.

There are, of course, other websites with great Catholic content on them.  I would certainly recommend as we await with anticipation the day when we can all come together again for the Mass, I encourage everyone to watch Dr. Scott Hahn’s series on the Eucharist in the Scriptures at The St. Paul Center website.

-Fr. Meyers

Parish News (3/28/20)

Minnesota Catholic Relief Fund

Yesterday afternoon, the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis announced an effort to help support Catholic parishes and schools financially during this challenging time.  With the assistance of Catholic Community Foundation (CCF), the Minnesota Catholic Relief Fund is a new coordinated response throughout our state to help support parishes and schools in distress.  The CCF will be using its network of donors and other people to help support parishes and schools like our own.

Central to this effort, however, is the importance of individual Catholics to first and foremost support their parish and school through tithing to their home parishes as the first call to action.  However, for those who are able to maintain that financial support of our parish and help fellow Catholics, please know of this opportunity to participate in the universal church.  If you would like to learn more about CCF and their efforts at this time, please see their website here.

Home Visits

Earlier this afternoon, I made my first home visit to a parishioner to administer the sacraments during the “stay at home” executive order.  As a priest, I am exempt from the order in order to provide for the spiritual health of parishioners, so I have been arranging visits to people’s homes who are interested in receiving Holy Communion.  I will be spending my afternoon tomorrow visiting parishioners and bringing them the Eucharist as I visit from house to house.  If you would like me to bring the sacraments to you in these final weeks of Lent, please email me at nate.meyers@stfxb.org in order to arrange a visit.

Father Recommends

I created a new page on our website, Father Recommends.  I will be posting recommended movies on this page for people to consider, so be sure to check it out as I have now posted my first recommendation–the classic film, On the Waterfront.

Holy Week

I anticipate being able to provide information to our parish regarding plans for Holy Week following the Archdiocese’s Presbyteral Council meeting this coming Tuesday, March 31st.  My goal is to find some way in which we can safely come together to pray and worship on Easter Sunday and hopefully have some avenues for communal worship together throughout Holy Week.  Be sure to check this page daily for the latest information.

-Fr. Meyers

Parish News (3/27/20)

An Update Regarding Staffing During the COVID-19 Pandemic

This coming Sunday, the Church will begin Passiontide—the final portion of Lent in which we focus more intentionally on the suffering and death of Jesus Christ.  Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the far reaching implications of it in our world, our country, our state, and our community, this Passiontide will be an especially significant one for all of us.  The executive order of Gov. Tim Walz issuing a “stay at home” decree for Minnesota, along with the recommendations and guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Minnesota Department of Health, and the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis have impacted the operation of our national, state, and local economies in many ways.  Our parish is not exempt from these emerging and evolving realities as our income is greatly diminished at this time and our business operation is necessarily constricted by these external factors.

For the financial viability of our parish and school, especially considering the impact of our own parish’s financial crisis from 2018 that we were only now just beginning to emerge from with some new signs of vitality in our finances, the parish leadership made the difficult decision to furlough a number of our employees beginning Wednesday, April 1st of this year.  Each of these employees has already received a written notice of this furlough and the details regarding it.  While other employees are not being furloughed at this time, the fact is that this will naturally impact each of them as well and will no doubt impact parishioners because we are more than just a company—we are a parish, a family of families.  As St. Paul teaches us, the Church is the mystical body of Christ—“if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it” (1 Cor 12:26).  The Church is experiencing great suffering and trial at this time and while I would like to spare our employees from this reality, we unfortunately are not able to do so entirely.

To be clear, a furlough is not the termination of employment; each person who will be going on furlough still has a job with St. Francis Xavier and we will be continuing to offer insurance benefits during this time to all the furloughed employees who are currently receiving them.  Parish leadership will continue to review the financial status of our parish and make amendments to our furlough decision as we are able based on the income we receive as a parish, possible aid that can be obtained through other sources, and changes from civil and medical authorities on the COVID-19 response.

Once again, for those who are able to support our parish financially, I encourage you to do so by sending us contributions in the mail or using electronic giving via one of the following options:

Please hold all of our furloughed employees in your prayers as this will undoubtedly be a challenging time for them and their families.

-Fr. Meyers

Parish News (3/25/20)

Homebound Ministry

Earlier today, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz issued an executive order for Minnesotans to stay at home for two weeks beginning this Friday, March 27th at 11:59 p.m. through Friday, April 10th (which happens to be Good Friday this year).  The full text of Gov. Walz’s order can be found here for those who would like to read it completely.  Following Gov. Walz’s order, Archbishop Hebda issued a statement to priests that outlines what this means for the Archdiocese during the time that this executive order is in effect.  Quoting directly from Archbishop’s document, he states the following for this time period:

  • There will continue to be no public Masses or large gatherings of any kind.
  • Parishes are encouraged to continue to livestream or otherwise broadcast the liturgy (necessary support team is permissible in a sanctuary).
  • Priests are asked not to promote gatherings of the faithful that conflict with the Governor’s order.
  • Although gatherings are not to take place, Church buildings may be left open when possible to accommodate essential pastoral care, in that event precautions must be taken for social distancing and maintaining a safe environment.
  • Priests are encouraged to administer the sacraments in cases of serious need and on an individual basis.
  • The Archdiocesan Catholic Center will be closed but staff are available by phone and email.

Based on the directives issued by Archbishop Hebda, we will no longer be able to distribute Communion to the faithful following the offering of Mass.  It also seems that the regular offering of confessions will not be permitted during the time that Gov. Walz’s executive order is in effect.  The reasons for this are to help Minnesota’s healthcare system be prepared and ready for an anticipated spike in COVID-19 cases.  I anticipate further directions will come from the Archdiocese to answer some particular questions that arise from Gov. Walz’s decision and, once these are communicated, I will certainly update them here.

In the meantime, the Church of St. Francis Xavier will now need to focus on homebound ministry.  While a number of priests are moving towards live-streaming the Mass or otherwise recording, I still would prefer to find a creative solution to our current situation that does not move the sacraments towards a virtual sphere.  In addition to the concerns I have expressed in the past, I am concerned about what it means to have something as sacred as the Mass being broadcast on a device and platform that is regularly used for profane and even evil purposes.  I recall a speaker, Msgr. Ross Shecterle, whom Archbishop Hebda invited to speak to the priests of this Archdiocese who expressed these concerns from both a theological and psychological perspective (Msgr. Shecterle is a licensed psychologist in addition to a priest).

In order to maintain a proper distinction between the sacred and the profane, I am choosing not to livestream or otherwise record the Mass while acknowledging that other pastors are well within their rights to do so.  Instead, as Gov. Walz’s executive order states an exception to this order for, in Section 6, v., “officials, workers, and leaders in houses of worship and other places of religious expression or fellowship, wherever their services may be needed,” I will plan to make myself available to administer the sacraments to people on an individual basis as the Archbishop permits based on his own further instruction.

In so visiting people to provide them with the sacraments, I will follow the guidelines recommended by the CDC and Minnesota Department of Health.  Recognizing that the number of requests for Holy Communion could well exceed my capacity to visit each person on a daily basis and perhaps even make a weekly visit to each person difficult, I do ask for people to permit me some flexibility as we navigate these requests in the coming two weeks.  Nonetheless, anybody who would like to receive Communion and is a member of our parish, please feel free to contact me at 763-489-9223 or (preferably) by email at nate.meyers@stfxb.org.

Final Chance for Confession and Communion

As the Archbishop’s directives indicate we are to not violate the Governor’s order, we are still able to hold confessions in the church this Thursday and Friday because the order will not be in effect at that time.  I will be in the confession this Thursday at 4:30 p.m. and will stay as long as people continue to come.  I will also be in the confessional again on Friday at 6:00 p.m. for as long as is needed that evening, too.

Similarly, we will continue to distribute Communion after the 8:00 a.m. Mass on Thursday and Friday of this week.  Following the distribution of Communion on Friday, we will then need to move to exclusively following the homebound approach to making the Eucharist available to people until such time that we are able to have a more public and collective celebration of the Blessed Sacrament.

Suspension of Office Hours

After consulting with legal counsel, the parish office will remain closed following our regularly scheduled conclusion of business hours this Friday, March 27th at 12:00 noon.  We will remain closed through Friday, April 10th.  We are currently working with parish leadership to determine what this will mean for our staff, so a subsequent announcement will be sent before this weekend that announces those details.

Electronic Giving

As the circumstances of this time make it more and more difficult to have direct access to one another, I want to encourage people to continue to financially support the parish through electronic giving.  There are two options on how to support our parish financially at this time through electronic giving:

Donations can also be mailed to the parish office (we will have a system in place to receive and process our mail during this time) or can also be given to me in a secured envelope when I make a homebound visit (I do ask that such a donation not be a cash donation, however).  I realize it seems odd for the Church to be asking people to contribute financially at a time when we appear to be withdrawing, but please know that the Church remains accessible to each of us and I will do my part to be present to all of you.

-Fr. Meyers

Parish News (3/24/20)

Support Our Catholic School

Our Catholic school students are hitting the books again as our wonderful school staff have begun a new path in our education plan:  distance learning.  I cannot express enough gratitude to all of our dedicated teachers who worked diligently to develop a plan in the wake of Gov. Walz’s decision to suspend all in-class learning for the remainder of this month and likely for several more weeks to come.  Thanks to their work our students and their families will continue to receive excellent education rooted in our Catholic faith.

Nevertheless, the suspension of Catholic Mass and the disruption to our economy is undoubtedly going to impact our school and parish.  For this reason, I ask all of our parishioners to be willing to reach out to Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith to ask them to consider offering assistance to non-public schools as part of the CARES Act being debated in the Congress right now.  Currently, there is a paragraph in this proposed legislation that allows for relief to be provided to schools such as our own under the Education Stabilization Fund.  Without these funds, I fear many Catholic schools (including perhaps our own) will not be able to withstand the COVID-19 pandemic without major cutbacks if at all.

To contact Senators Klobuchar and Smith, please contact them to express your support for Catholic schools by reaching out to them:

  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar
    Call 202-224-3244 (leave a message supporting funding of non-public schools in this moment of crisis)
    Email her staff at Elizabeth_farrar@klobuchar.senate.gov
  • Sen. Tina Smith
    Call 202-224-5641 (leave a message supporting funding of non-public schools in this moment of crisis)
    Email her staff at Gohar_sedighi@smith.senate.gov

Thank you for helping to provide for our Catholic school.

Entering into Holy Week

As so much of our daily routine has been upended, it could be easy to forget that we are still in Lent and journeying towards Holy Week.  Palm Sunday will occur on April 5th and while we do not yet know exactly how this will work liturgically in our parish, the Archdiocese is going to be holding a Virtual Holy Week Retreat from our beautiful Cathedral of St. Paul.  Events and details for the retreat can be found here.

Love Conquers All

The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly created an atmosphere of fear, anxiety, and concern.  However, it is important for us to remember that Christ’s love has not forsaken us as either individuals or a country.  I was reminded of that earlier today when I was called to bring the Last Rites to one of the residents at The Glen right here in Buffalo.  I have not been able to enter any of our assisted living or other care centers for a couple of weeks now, but The Glen is allowing clergy to visit as people move toward the end of their life.  As I met with this lady–no longer verbally communicative, but nonetheless attentive to my presence and the prayers–I experienced a profound sense of Christ’s love.  Just as this beloved daughter of Christ does not need to face her dark night alone, neither do we and neither does our country.  Let us all remember that love conquers all.

-Fr. Meyers

Parish News (3/23/20)

A Report From the Weekend

The Church of St. Francis Xavier celebrated Laetare Sunday this past weekend in unusual circumstances as we adapt to the changes brought about by the COVID-19 outbreak in Minnesota.  Laetare is the Latin word for “rejoice” and it comes from this past weekend’s entrance antiphon, which quotes the Prophet Isaiah: “Rejoice, Jerusalem, and all who love her.  Be joyful, all who were in mourning; exult and be satisfied at her consoling breast.” (Isaiah 66:10-11)

In an unexpected way, we were able to have a wedding take place in our parish this past weekend as a wonderful couple who was scheduled to be married in April following requested that their marriage be allowed to be celebrated in case the situation were to change and their original wedding date would become unfeasible as the circumstances surrounding the coronavirus evolve.  The couple joined together in holy matrimony were accompanied by their parents and witnesses, in accordance with the CDC’s recommendations and the Archdiocese’s directives on celebrating marriages at this time.  While the wedding was far more simple than anyone would have expected just a week ago, the two have become one flesh and begun a new life together in, entering into a beautiful bond rooted in Christ.

A Few Adjustments for Holy Communion

Following our first weekend of distributing Communion to the faithful following Holy Mass in our church, I realize we will need to make a couple of adjustments to make sure that our doing so does comply with the recommendations from the CDC and Minnesota Department of Health.  While people were very good about maintaining social distancing during our opening prayer, I did notice that the distance of six-feet that is recommended and was asked to be kept by everyone who joined us did begin to shrink as people processed forward for Communion.  As a result, beginning tomorrow, I will be instructing people to stay in their car and taking that time to prepare themselves for a worthy reception of the Eucharist.  Some ideas for how to prepare for Holy Communion at this time are the following:

  • Pray the rosary
  • Read and reflect upon the readings from the day’s Mass
  • Make an examination of conscience and an act of contrition

Once I come out of the church with the Eucharist, we will begin our liturgy for Holy Communion as people remain in their cars with the windows rolled down so they can hear.  I will then approach each vehicle so that people can receive the Eucharist without exposure to the other individuals who are also seeking the sacrament.  I want to express my appreciation to everyone for their cooperation in this effort.

In offering Holy Communion to those who desire it at this time, I do want to let people know that the Archdiocese has recommended those who prefer to receive the Eucharist on the tongue choose to receive it in the hand.  I see that a number of our parishioners who ordinarily receive on the tongue have already made this decision as a way of helping respond to COVID-19.  While I cannot require anyone to not receive on the tongue, I do want people to be aware of this recommendation and consider it as they seek Holy Communion.

I also want to remind all of our parishioners that each person is free to choose to stay home at this time.  I did hear from a couple of concerned family members that they were worried about their relatives coming for Holy Communion, so I want to stress that each person should make an informed decision based on the information made known by civil and medical authorities before deciding whether to come to the parking lot to receive Communion.  Please also note that I am available to make house visits and provide the sacraments in that manner, too.  If you would like to schedule a visit, please call my direct office line at 763-489-9223 or email me at nate.meyers@stfxb.org.

A Correction

I have come to understand that my comments from March 18th that were posted on this page come across as being disobedient to Archbishop Hebda and his decision to suspend public Masses in the Archdiocese.  Of my own choosing, without any direction to do so from the Archbishop or anyone else at the Archdiocese, I want to publicly apologize for creating such an impression.  The decision to suspend Masses in the Archdiocese is Archbishop Hebda’s decision and I am absolutely certain he has made it with a good conscience and out of genuine care for the public good.

Plenary Indulgence During Pandemic

The Vatican’s Apostolic Penitentiary, which is a tribunal whose chief duty is to govern the Church’s ministry for the forgiveness of sins, has announced the gift of a special plenary indulgence for the faithful suffering from COVID-19 as well as to healthcare workers, family members of those infected with the disease, and all who care for them in any capacity–including prayer.  For a more complete explanation of the indulgence, please read this article here from Vatican News.

The indulgence can be received by any person who is baptized, in a state of grace, and a Catholic in good standing with the Church.  Indulgences can be obtained for the individual him- or herself, as well as for the faithful departed.  In order to receive the indulgence, a person must complete the following tasks:

  • Desire to be free from attachment to sin
  • Pray for the Holy Father’s intentions with the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, and a Marian prayer (e.g. the Hail Mary)
  • Confess one’s sins and receive sacramental absolution
  • Attend Mass and receive Holy Communion

Due to the possibility that one might not be able to attend Mass or receive confession right away, the Vatican’s direction states that the person should meet these obligations “as soon as possible.”  I hope those who are in a position to receive this indulgence will avail themselves of the graces it contains.

Cinema During the Pandemic

As many people are finding a number of social outings and options for activities being restricted right now, there will undoubtedly be some people looking for a good movie to watch at this time.  As a dedicated cinephile, I’m planning to make some movie recommendations for people to consider as a way of engaging great art while at home.  Be sure to check future updates with suggestions for movies.

-Fr. Meyers

Supporting St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church and School During COVID-19

Blessings and peace be with all of you as we continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and the extraordinary circumstances it is producing in our world, country, state, and local community.  We are sending an email to all of the parishioners in our database to speak about the financial impact of the coronavirus, which contains much of the same information that is included in this post.

As various industries in our economy are shutting down or drastically cutting back, it is clear that the financial situation of many Americans will change.  Indeed, a number of our parish families are already being directly impacted by the financial implications of this pandemic.  The lack of public access to the Mass, combined with the statewide closure of schools, certainly places our parish in a place of uncertainty as we undergo major changes in our operations.  I am continuing to look at means by which we can make the sacraments available to the faithful of our parish.  Meanwhile, our school’s dedicated administration and teachers have begun their first foray into distance learning so that our students will continue to receive a Catholic education until student access to our school building is able to resume.

In the meantime, however, we are truly dependent upon the generosity of each of our parishioners to help us fulfill the mission of our Church.  We continue to have our payroll and benefit expenses, as well as our utility expenses and mortgage payments.  As our most reliable source of income is the Sunday collection, the lack of public Mass for at least two weeks means we will have a greatly diminished capacity to receive funds to help our parish during this time.  However, there are still ways to give financially to St. Francis Xavier at this time.  We do ask those who are able to do so to continue giving at the same level as before by choosing one of the following options:

  • Become a regular electronic contributor to our parish by completing the form linked to on our website (https://stfxb.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/p118122.tf_D153F45E-D059-DD4D-2BFE2B0A57EA6DC4.Electronic_Giving_Form.pdf). The form can be submitted to the parish electronically by emailing our bookkeeper, Jody Klaphake, at jody.klaphake@stfxb.org; for those who are not comfortable sending this information electronically, it can be brought to our parish office.
  • Make electronic donations only for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic by using the WuFoo service we have created for this situation (just go to the following link: https://stfrancisxavierbuffalo.wufoo.com/forms/electronic-giving). Please note, that any donation that is made this way will come with a 3% charge to the parish.
  • Bring contributions to the church in person by either dropping them off at the parish offices or placing them in a collection basket that will be placed on the ground near me while I distribute Communion following the weekend Masses.

On behalf of everyone that our parish supports through your generous contributions, I want to express our sincere gratitude to each of you in helping fund our mission and work in our community. May the grace of Jesus Christ, the Divine Physician, bless and guide all of us during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please continue to hold our everyone impacted by this pandemic in your prayers as we unite together in the love of the Holy Trinity.

Parish News (3/19/2020)

Christ the King Adoration Chapel Changes

Based upon requests from some of our scheduled adorers, as well as consulting with the Adoration Committee in our parish, I have made the decision to repose the Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle of our Christ the King Adoration Chapel.  People are still able to access the Adoration Chapel at this time and pray before the Eucharist, but none of our adorers will be compelled to do so if he or she feels sick, is worried about his or her health, or needs to tend to another person at this time.  Furthermore, following the Archdiocese’s guidelines that were provided to parish’s earlier today, we have removed some of our kneelers and chairs to make sure that those who do use the Adoration Chapel for prayer maintain proper social distancing.  We have also removed rosaries, booklets, and other devotional material so that the possibility of contracting COVID-19 in the Christ the King Adoration Chapel is lessened.

Some parishes have chosen to move adoration of the Blessed Sacrament to the main church, but I decided against such move for two reasons.  First, on a practical level, we need to be realistic that we should expect COVID-19 to place financial strain upon our parish as it is already doing on many other parts of our economy and will continue to do so for quite some time.  Thus, running up our electrical bill at this time will mean economic resources will be deployed in this effort when they can be better served in making sure our employees continue to receive their pay and benefits, as well as realizing we may incur new expenses as we adopt methods of distance learning for our Catholic school.  Second, on a theological level, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is an extension of the worship we offer to God in the Mass.  As the Mass is currently not available for the public of our Archdiocese, it is theologically inconsistent to expose the Blessed Sacrament in the monstrance.

Lastly, for those who do wish to continue to stay close to the Eucharist and find that adoration is the best means to do so at this time, I would like to make note of an important point that is sometimes lost on both the Church’s ministers and the lay faithful:  Jesus Christ is no less present in the tabernacle than He is in the monstrance.  The Church’s sacramental theology is very clear on this point and, thus, those who choose to come and pray in the Christ the King Adoration Chapel during this time will not be any less connected to the Eucharist than if the host was exposed in the monstrance.

Please know that the status of Eucharistic adoration at our parish will remain under constant review as we receive directives from the Archdiocese and other authorities relating to the coronavirus pandemic.

Opportunities to Pray

As I offered Mass in the church this morning and looked out upon a gallery of empty pews, I do not hesitate to share that the experience was saddening.  However, as I made my way into the parking lot following Mass to distribute Holy Communion to whoever had arrived, my sorrow turned to an emotional joy as I saw men, women, and children standing in the parking lot awaiting the Lord.  As I have thought about this throughout the day, I have considered how beautiful it will be if we all are found waiting for Him in the same way when He comes at the consummation of the world.  From the bottom of my heart, I thank all of those who came today in a beautiful witness of faith.

For those who are unable to come for Holy Communion as we are offering it at this time, I want to share with you a few thoughts on how to keep prayer an active part of our lives during this period of time.  I offer for everyone’s consideration the following ideas:

  • Whenever sanitizing your hands, pray the Our Father as it roughly correlates to the recommended length of time we should wash our hands in sanitizer (for an extra Lenten challenge:  try using this as an opportunity to learn the Lord’s Prayer in Latin).
  • Join together with other Catholics in our Archdiocese by praying the Litany in Time of Need at 11:05 a.m. daily with those who are gathered together at home.
  • Take a few minutes to prayerfully read and reflect upon Pope Francis’ daily homilies, perhaps using them as a basis for a conversation at dinner.

Setting Goals

None of us is entirely certain what this change in routine will entail, but we can determine to make good use of the disruption in our lives.  Our parish is going through a lot of changes now as we respond to the likelihood that students will not be returning to classes, Mass may not be open to the public in our church for Holy Week, and our operations will change in response to COVID-19.  We are naturally working on strategies to make sure we meet our goals as a parish–whether it be providing the sacraments to the faithful or ensuring the very best in Catholic education to our school families–and I would encourage everyone to develop goals for spiritual growth at this time.  Now is a great opportunity for each of us to learn we all truly depend on God and God alone as we remember the words of the psalmist: “Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it.” (Ps 127:1).

-Fr. Meyers

Parish News (3/18/2020)

Suspension of Public Masses in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis

At the end of the day on Wednesday, March 18th, Archbishop Hebda announced his decision to suspend the public offering of the Mass in our Archdiocese for a minimum of two weeks as a means of helping reduce the effects of COVID-19.  For those who are interested in reading the Archbishop’s decision, it can be found here.  I do not envy Archbishop Hebda at this hour, nor those who were tasked with making this decision alongside him.  I am confident that Archbishop Hebda is deeply conflicted over this announcement and will rejoice greatly when he can reverse it and approve the faithful’s participation in the Mass.

I will state quite bluntly that I advocated strongly against this decision and will continue to present my recommendations to the Archdiocese’s leadership so that the faithful can again participate in the Mass.  I am strongly tempted and sorely desire to disregard this directive.  However, in so pursuing such a course of action I would also be rejecting the Archbishop’s authority and this can lead to a further crisis in the Church.  If Archbishop Hebda is wrong in his decision, then he will need to give an account to God.  As I consider the fact that I will die and need to give account of my life to God, I realize that the Lord of Life will ask me about this moment.  If I choose to be disobedient to Archbishop Hebda in this moment, I am confident that whatever answer I provide to God will be unsatisfactory.  Consequently, I must set aside my own desire and submit my will to the Archbishop’s on this matter, trusting God will provide the necessary graces for His Church at this time.

Mass will be offered in our church each day for the stated intention that has been requested of me.  Many priests have already or, I am sure, will soon be choosing to stream the Mass so that parishioners and others can watch them online.  In considering this option prayerfully in anticipation of this scenario, I cannot bring myself to do this.  The sacraments are not virtual and to move the faithful, even under extraordinary circumstances such as this, towards such a view of them betrays the nature of the Catholic faith.  Jesus Christ became truly incarnate–walking on the very ground that we walk.  Our faith, therefore, must be incarnational and lived in the real world.  Streaming the Mass on Facebook or some other digital platform obscures this great truth and, I am convinced, is born of a Protestant impulse that will only further decline people’s attachment to the sacraments.

A New Means of Holy Communion

Nevertheless, the Eucharist will be provided to people in our parish.  I will record a homily each day and post it on our website should anybody wish to pray with the Mass readings and hear a homily on them.  After each Mass, I will come outside the church and administer the Blessed Sacrament to anyone who wishes to come and receive it (either while in their vehicle or if they wish to park their car and approach me).  For those who choose to make use of this option, the Eucharistic fast of not eating one hour prior to Communion should still be observed.  In approaching the Eucharist, please be sure to observe the latest recommendations from civil authorities and medical professionals.

The Mass schedule, beginning tomorrow (March 19th) will be as follows:

-Tuesday-Saturday: 8:00 a.m. (Communion available at 8:30 a.m.)

-Saturday: 5:00 p.m. (Communion available at 5:45 p.m.)

-Sunday: 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. (Communion available at 9:15 a.m. and 11:15 a.m.)

I am truly sorry that I cannot do more to provide all of you with the Eucharist at this time.  I will begin looking at options for also making visits to people’s homes and how we can perhaps expand this offering of Holy Communion.  The Church should not be content to offer people a “spiritual communion” at any time; I will not be content to settle for this option and will continue to seek to expand access to the Eucharist.

In solidarity with all of you who are deprived of the Mass at this time, I have chosen to remove the Blessed Sacrament from the rectory chapel.  I will pray a holy hour before the empty tabernacle each day, offering my prayer for the quick restoration of the faithful’s ability to return to Mass.

The Sacrament of Reconciliation

At this time, the church will remain locked apart from when I am hearing confessions at the church.  The reason for keeping the church locked is based on the scientific data we have regarding COVID-19.  The virus can live on a surface for anywhere from six to 12 hours.  By locking the church apart from these times, the faithful can be assured that the church is free from a contagion.  Designated pews have been marked for people to sit in and pray in to help promote proper social distancing.

The new confession schedule will be as follows:

-Tuesday: 5:30 p.m-6:30 p.m.

-Thursday: 4:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m.

-Friday: 6:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m.

-Saturday: 3:00 p.m.-4:30 p.m.

SCHEDULE PENANCE SERVICE THIS WEEKEND: The planned Penance Service for this coming Sunday at 7:00 p.m. will be modified to have myself and only one other priest present for the sacrament.  Again, people are asked to follow the recommended guidelines for social distancing and hygiene.

Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick/Last Sacraments

Currently, COVID-19 protocols still permit priests to give the sacrament of Anointing of the Sick or last sacraments in the usual circumstances for them to be celebrated. Contact the parish office at 763-684-0075 to request these sacraments.

Adoration

The Blessed Sacrament has been reposed in the Adoration Chapel until further notice. However, the chapel is open for all scheduled adorers to maintain their regularly-scheduled hour, but you are not required to do so.

Stations of the Cross

The Stations of the Cross will be cancelled for the remaining Fridays of Lent. People are encouraged to engage in this devotion at home.

The Way, the Truth, and the Life: Discover the Real Jesus

Our Lenten catechesis series–The Way, the Truth, and the Life: Discover the Real Jesuswill also need to be cancelled at this time, as our attendance does not provide for us to meet the recommendations of social distance and crowd size.  I will plan to write essays on the remaining topics and post them on our website.

Going Forward

Naturally, none of us knows perfectly well what the future will hold due the coronavirus, but this is not actually a new reality.  The Lord has not deemed to grant us knowledge of the future and, I suspect, this is because He has blessed each of us with free will.  We each can make choices that will make this world better or worse, safer or more dangerous, holier or more sinful.  I pray that we will not learn from this moment the wrong lessons as citizens, families, and most of all Catholics.  Please continue to check this page daily with ways in which we can continue to be united in the Catholic Church and come together to serve God and His people.

-Fr. Meyers

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