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 for Instructions on Attending Mass

As we return to Mass, check this link to see the most up to date information on our guidelines and protocols for attending Mass at St. Francis Xavier. 


Parish News (6/2/20)

Expanding the Return to Mass

The past few days have provided us with an initial glimpse into our expanded access to Mass here at St. Francis Xavier.  Based on the conversations I have had with a few members of the parish and the observations from this past weekend and today, it appears that our new protocols are going well and resulting in a positive environment for prayer that is both reverent and safe.  I am especially grateful to all of our ushers and the new sanitizing team that have done such a great job helping us get things off to a great, successful start.

We welcome feedback on people’s impressions and thoughts on how we can continue to allow greater attendance at Mass in a safe manner, so please email me at nate.meyers@stfxb.org if you have any thoughts or suggestions.  We are continuing to look at our seating arrangement so that there can be more access for people at any given Mass that will respect social distancing while making signing up for Mass simple and easy.  Any revisions to seating arrangement will be communicated via email to parishioners.

Attendance at Multiple Masses

We have had great attendance at Mass so far, but there are obviously very many spots still open for our daily Masses.  While the initial goal was to offer these extra Masses to make sure everyone who wants to attend Mass in our parish is free to do so, it does appear there will be slots available for people to attend Mass during the week more than once without depriving people of one of the slots allotted for our parish.  Therefore, as a slight amendment during these initial two weeks of Mass, I am going to permit people to sign up for multiple daily Masses during the week.

Anyone who wishes to do so should wait until after 7:00 p.m. before signing up to attend Mass the following day.  Additionally, as it is clearly the case that most people desire to attend Mass on Sunday, anyone who is choosing to attend Mass multiple times during the week should clear their attendance at a Sunday Mass so that this slot could be available to others who desire to attend Mass on a Sunday can have that opportunity.  Thank you for your cooperation on this and, as I mentioned in my announcements this weekend, we are all learning together.

Catholic Schools to Open in the Fall

Late last week, Bishop Cozzens sent a letter to parishes stating that the Archdiocese intends to open all Catholic schools for in person schooling at the start of the 2020-21 academic year.  Our parish is also fully determined to open our Catholic school in September as scheduled and we have heard from parents and students that this is what they desire, so we will be taking these summer months to make sure we have everything ready to provide for Catholic education in person.  We will be communicating with the parish regularly through the coming weeks and months of summer about our planning for the new school year, but be assured we have every intention of opening our doors to our students and welcome new students to join us in our Catholic school.

Head Custodian Position Available

We have an opening for the Head Custodian position in our parish and welcoming applications for review.  Ideally, the new custodian could begin by the middle or end of June in order to be trained in during the summer months and learn the intricacies of our school and church buildings and properties.  Anybody who would like to inquire about this position is welcomed to reach out to me and submit their applications to my email address.  Please be sure to pass this information along to anyone who you think would be interested in this position.

-Fr. Meyers

Parish News (5/27/20)

Initial Masses Going Well

Over the past few days, we have been able to have Masses with a total of ten people in attendance and the result has been very promising as we look to have greater numbers of people attend beginning with Pentecost.  Our distancing and procedures are proving to be quite workable, which bodes well for making sure we can worship reverently and safely at St. Francis Xavier.  While there is some awkwardness in not having music and needing to avoid physical contact with people we know and love in our parish, the power of the Mass is clearly palpable in these gatherings so far and I am confident each of us will be able to experience it as we come back to Mass.

Please do help us to make sure that the return to Mass continues to go well as we expand our gatherings.  Based on the agreement that was reached between the Catholic bishops of Minnesota and Gov. Walz’s administration, we will need to make sure that we are prudent and attentive not only to our needs, but also the common good of our fellow citizens.  If anybody is feeling sick or is living with someone who has COVID-19 symptoms, please do not come to Mass until you can be sure it is safe to do so.

Agreement with Gov. Walz

As referenced above, Gov. Walz issued an amendment to his Stay Safe MN executive order that allows houses of worship to resume their in person services.  Our current plan is not impacted by the revisions from the Archdiocese based on the negotiations with the Walz administration (which have stated that religious institutions cannot have more than 25% of their capacity filled at any one time), because our incremental approach already planned to have us only allow less than 25% of our total capacity as we evaluate the initial steps.  The 25% cap on our attendance does mean we will need to make sure no Mass has more than 150 people in attendance until we receive further notice.  For this reason, I want to repeat my request that people not have non-parishioners join them at Mass at this time so that these limited numbers can be used by members of St. Francis Xavier.

Opportunities for the Summer

The Restore Faith, Hope, and Love Council met last night and we discussed ideas on how to help foster the sense of community during this phased reopening of the parish.  At this time, the Archdiocese is not permitting social gatherings (i.e. Men’s Group and Women’s Group meetings, games for kids, funeral lunches, etc.) to be offered by parishes and while this can be painful at times, it does help to make sure that our parish does not become a vector for transmitting the virus and it further helps to make sure we can continue to offer the sacraments in our parish.  Nevertheless, we are looking at creative ways to offer some more personal engagement and faith formation to our parish via technology.  Please stay tune as we hope to make some announcements on this in the near future.

-Fr. Meyers

Parish News (5/22/20)

Masses for Ten People Resume This Weekend

Beginning with our Mass at 8:00 a.m. tomorrow, we will have our first act of worship with parishioners in our church in approximately two months.  I just finished sanitizing the church this evening and look forward to welcoming the nine people who have signed up to join us for Mass tomorrow.  For those who have not yet signed up for Masses, we have a SignUp Genius available for our upcoming expansion of allowing a larger amount of parishioners to join us for Mass beginning on Pentecost.

As we return to Mass, I want to encourage everyone to not only protect themselves, but also the larger community.  Please limit the amount of physical contact you have with objects in the church, use your feet to lower and raise the kneelers, try to arrange to go the bathroom prior to coming to Mass, and maintain physical distance from people who are not in your household.  Each of these is an inconvenience, but they can also help keep people safe and allow others to see that our faith is not incompatible with the goals of public health and overcoming the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ascension Thursday on Sunday

We will continue to livestream the Office of Readings on Sunday mornings at 7:30 a.m. on our parish’s Facebook page, which can also be viewed later in the day.  Our Archdiocese, along with many dioceses in the United States, transfers the Solemnity of the Ascension from Thursday to Sunday, so please not that we will be praying the Office of Readings for the Ascension and not the 7th Sunday of Easter.  The Ascension readings are available on eBreviary for those who are using our subscription to the service.

Father Recommends

As we come to Memorial Day weekend, I thought I would recommend a couple of war films for everyone’s consideration.  Be sure to check them out on the Father Recommends page of our website.

-Fr. Meyers

Parish News (5/20/20)–UPDATE

Minnesota Bishops Move Forward to Provide Greater Access to Mass

In a joint statement, the Catholic bishops of Minnesota have given parishes permission to move forward with the plans to have public attendance at Mass at a maximum of 1/3 church capacity beginning Tuesday, May 26th.  The letter from our bishops can be read here.  As this was announced after I sent out earlier today the SignUp Genius (see the announcement below) for the remainder of May, we will continue with the plan of having no more than ten people at Mass from this Saturday, May 23rd through the 8:00 a.m. Mass on Saturday, May 30th.  However, as provided by our ecclesial authority, we will be expanding the number of people who can attend Mass to our originally stated plan of 18 households (including the lector) at each Mass with the Pentecost Vigil Mass on Saturday, May 31st.

I have created a new SignUp Genius for these Masses that people can access here.  Please note that the slot reserved for the lectors will not appear on this SignUp Genius as our lectors, ushers, and sanitizing team will be scheduled internally through our parish office.  I will be sending out an email to all parishioners whose email we have on file tomorrow to provide people with the SignUp Genius as well as to offer some additional thoughts.  In the meantime, as people signup for Mass from Pentecost through the middle of June, please remember that the limit of attending Mass only once per week still holds and that only parishioners can attend Mass (members of nearby parishes should attend in their home parish).

When signing up for Mass, the number next to your household’s name will be the station where you will be seated during the Mass; please refer to the diagram that was included in the letter I sent last week for a reminder.  We will be evaluating the new Mass schedule and procedures over these next two weeks and will see if there are ways for us to expand to allow for additional stations to be seated or if we should adjust the Mass schedule for the remainder of June and into the rest of the summer.  I very much look forward to being able to say Mass with all of you present again.

-Fr. Meyers

Parish News (5/20/20)

Online Signup for Masses in May

Just a quick update in the middle of the day to let everyone know that the online signup to attend Mass is now available here.  As noted previously, we will be using the final week of May as a “trial run” on our new Mass schedule and to get a feel for the newly created protocols for sanitizing the church and praciticing social distancing.  As we will only be able to have a total of ten people present at Mass until at least May 31st, our Sanitizing Team and Ushers will not be asked to take part in their roles yet in order to allow more people to attend Mass.  People can arrive for Mass as early as a half hour prior to its scheduled start time; please note that only those who have signed up beforehand will be able to attend Mass during these upcoming days and parishioners can only register to attend one Mass during this time.

I know many will want to attend Mass and be unable to do so during the upcoming week; I share in that frustration and wish we could open the doors far and wide to allow as many people as possible into our church.  Nonetheless, I do ask that we all cooperate with these current limitations to help promote not only public health during the COVID-19 pandemic, but also to help in the effort to bring greater access to the sacraments to as many people as possible.  The smarter and more prudent we are in these matters now, the sooner we will achieve our goal of bringing Christ to our world.

Parish News (5/19/20)

Sanitizing Team

As we get ready to resume public Masses in the near future, we still are looking for more people to join in our new Sanitizing Team.  So far, we have had ten people step forward, but we are hoping to have a total of 30 people take part in this work.  Assuming Gov. Walz will allow for a larger amount of parishioners to attend Mass once the current Stay Safe MN executive order expires, we will be having our Sanitizing Team go into full force as early as Tuesday, June 2nd.  For those who are able to join us in this work of sanitizing the church before and after each Mass, please contact Jody Klaphake at jody.klaphake@stfxb.org.

Ten Person Masses Begin This Saturday

The faithful of our parish will be able to attend Mass again in our church starting this Saturday, May 23rd with our 8:00 a.m. Mass.  I will be sending out a letter and SignUp Genius tomorrow afternoon with more details, but please remember that we will only be able to have a total of ten people (including clergy) present at each Mass from May 23rd through May 31st.  I am not going to adjudicate who will or will not be able to attend Mass (apart from limiting everyone to attending only once a week at least for the next few weeks) and just want to remind everyone that for the first week, we will need to have each individual in a household signup for a slot.

We have received a number of phone calls in the parish office asking about this and I want to remind each of us to be generous in how we return to Mass.  It is very likely that we will all need to make accommodations and sacrifices in this return to Mass that we do not personally like–from giving up the pew where we like to sit or attending Mass at a time that is not to our liking.  I have been struck by the generosity I have heard from parishioners in stating they will forego attending Mass this next week to provide others with the opportunity to return to Mass.  I pray we all are moved by such selfless love of our fellow parishioners during this time and keep in mind the overall good of our fellow parishioners as we each strive to return to Mass.

Lobby for Catholic Schools

The U.S. Congress is currently weighing further legislation to address the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.  I ask everyone to contact our representative and senators in the Congress to provide Catholic schools with equitable access to federal funds and especially to advocate for school families to receive tuition aid through tax breaks.  To learn more about how to take action on this matter, please see the information provided by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops here.

-Fr. Meyers

Parish News (5/17/20)

Spring Fever Reliever–A Success for Catholic Education!

Just a quick update today to announce that our Spring Fever Reliever fundraiser successfully reached our goal of raising $60,000!  Thank you to everyone who worked to make this possible, from our Spring Fever Committee to all our generous benefactors.  We are grateful for this wonderful success as it is a sign that we indeed are Standing Strong Together While Staying Apart!  God bless you all and be sure to check this page for more news as we get ready to resume Mass together next weekend.

-Fr. Meyers

Parish News (5/15/20)

Archbishop Hebda’s Response to Gov. Walz’s Stay Safe MN Order

A short while ago, Archbishop Hebda release a letter (which can be found here along with a video message) following upon Gov. Walz’s decision to prohibit religious organizations from holding gatherings for worship of groups larger than ten people through the end of May.  In his letter, Archbishop Hebda reminds us that the bishops of Minnesota are actively working to resume the faithful’s attendance at Mass and there is hope that we will be able to do so in the near future.  Religious leaders of the Catholic Church and other faiths will meet with Gov. Walz’s staff this coming week to review proposals.  Anything that would require further amendment to our plan that was announced to the parish earlier this week will be communicated.

In the meantime, Archbishop Hebda has given priests permission to begin saying Mass with parishioners in attendance as early as this Monday, provided the total number of people does not exceed ten (including any clergy in attendance).  I am happy to announce that we will begin holding Mass in this limited capacity next weekend on Saturday, May 23rd.  While the number of people who attend will be limited, we will be able to take this time to have a sense of the new Mass schedule and also see any adjustments we would like to make in scheduling as we get ready for a larger gathering of the faithful.

Plans to Begin Public Worship Next Weekend

We will resume the faithful’s participation at Mass with the 8:00 a.m. Mass on Saturday, May 23rd.  Please not that I will have nine slots available for people to sign up to attend Mass, as I naturally will be the tenth person at Mass.  Families can sign up for Mass, but must sign up each individual who will be attending separately on our SignUp Genius.  As mentioned before, people will only be able to attend Mass once during the week.  We also will not be having anyone serve as a lector during this time; I will serve in that role (or Deacon if he is one of the additional nine people at Mass) so that we do not need to worry about allotting one slot to a lector during this initial return to Mass.

The SignUp Genius will be made available to our parishioners no later than Wednesday, May 20th so that people can begin signing up for Mass.  All of the other guidelines that were enumerated in my letter from earlier this week will be followed and social distancing between separate households must be maintained.  While this will be no doubt awkward and we will not be able to all come back to Mass during this initial phase, we nonetheless will have the opportunity to begin our public worship of God and witness to His glory.

Spring Fever Reliever

Everyone is encouraged to join in our Spring Fever Reliever fundraiser to help us reach our goal of $60,000 to support Catholic education in our parish.  We already have raised more than $35,000 and many great auction items remain–from special seating at future Saints on Stage plays to a weeklong stay on Big McKenzie Lake to cooking class at the Abundant Kitchen to joining a whirly ball event.  All the money will directly help the students of our Catholic school and people can even help specific classrooms by donating to the wish list or helping us raise funds to purchase Chrome Books for our students to continue thriving in digital learning.  Create an account and join us online here.  Whether we have children or grandchildren in our school, each of us benefits from the gift of a Catholic school.  Come support us as we make our final push this weekend to raise $60,000!

Father Recommends

As we enter into what looks like it will be a beautiful weekend, I certainly understand that many will want to spend their evenings outdoors.  However, if your yard is buggy or the weather doesn’t hold, feel free to check out my most recent movie recommendation over on the Father Recommends page.

-Fr. Meyers

Parish News (5/13/20)

Working Towards Mass Together

Earlier tonight, Gov. Walz announced that the stay at home order will expire at midnight on Monday, May 18th and that this will allow for retail stores to open again that very same day with safety plans and operating at a 50% capacity.  Unfortunately, the expiration of the stay at home order is being accompanied by a new order that appears (based on the reports and my reading of it) to mean that religious organizations cannot resume public worship and gatherings until at least June 1st.  I am sure many of us share in disappointment at this prospect, because it means the entire Easter Season will have passed without us being able to gather together for Mass in the church.  As of this writing, I have not received communication from the Archdiocese on what Gov. Walz’s decision means for the church, but I will follow the direction that comes to us from Archbishop Hebda and relay it as soon as possible.

Nevertheless, we as a parish are working to prepare for a smooth and safe return to our gathering and everyone on our email distribution list should have received a letter from me earlier today indicating the plan that we will follow once public access to the Mass is permitted by Archbishop Hebda.  If you did not receive this email, please contact Travis Nelson at the parish office in order to provide us with an accurate email for our distribution.  In the meantime, I will continue to offer Mass as scheduled, confessions will be available for the faithful, and we will stream the Liturgy of the Hours at 12:00 noon on Thursdays and 7:30 a.m. on Sundays.

Sanitizing Team

As part of making sure we can have a safe return to Mass as quickly as possible, we are looking to have a team of people who will be able to serve on our new Sanitizing Team for the church.  We will need two people to sanitize the church before and after each Mass; the materials for sanitizing will be provided by the parish.  Anybody who is on the Sanitizing Team will need to be able to walk up and down the stairs of the church’s Gathering Space and the stairway to the balcony.  As we plan to offer 14 Masses during the course of the week once we can begin letting people attend Mass again, it would be great if we could have as many as 30 people join in this effort so that we can properly rotate people.

If you are able to serve on our Sanitizing Team to help keep our church clean and our parishioners safe, please email Jody Klaphake at jody.klaphake@stfxb.org to let her know of your availability to help.  We will be reaching out to those who agree to serve in this role with more detailed explanations of how to sanitize the church.

Spring Fever Update

Our Spring Fever Reliever fundraiser is continuing as we have raised nearly $32,000 towards our goal of $60,000.  Be sure to take part in this great event in support of Catholic education.  We encourage people to bid throughout the week and help us be certain to make our goal to support the work of our teachers and parents in raising the next generation of Catholics.

Pray for a Vaccine

Pope Francis has called on all believers to make it a special point to pray for an end to the COVID-19 pandemic and the creation of a vaccine for the disease.  The date Pope Francis has asked us to pray for a vaccine is tomorrow, May 14th.  I encourage people in our parish to join us in Daytime Prayer at 12:00 noon on our school’s Facebook page, which will be offered for the creation of a vaccine.  If you cannot join us on Facebook for the streaming of the prayer, please make it a point to pray an extra rosary for the sole intention of a vaccine being created to help bring an end to the pandemic.

-Fr. Meyers

Parish News (5/12/20)

Spring Fever Reliever:  Off and Running!

Our online gala in support of our Catholic school is off to a great start since bidding began yesterday.  We have already raised $30,000 towards our goal of $60,000 and I want to thank all of our current bidders.  It’s not too late for people in our community (whether a parishioner or just those who support great faith-based education in Buffalo) to register to take part in the auction.  Join this exciting chance to support our students and their families by logging into the event here.  The auction will stay open until this Sunday, May 17th at 8:00 p.m.

Liturgy of the Hours

As we pray and work towards being able to have people safely come together for Mass in our parish again, I would very much appreciate hearing from people how they would like us to continue celebrating the Liturgy of the Hours together as a parish.  The subscription to eBreviary.com is good for an entire year (again, the username is nate.meyers@stfxb.org and the password is STFX#CovidPrayer) and I think it would be a great way to deepen our prayer as a community to continue praying this prayer together.  If people would like to see us continue streaming the Liturgy of the Hours even after public Masses resume, please feel free to email me and we will gauge if this is something to incorporate into our revised liturgy schedule.  I would also welcome any other suggestions on how we can continue praying this beautiful liturgy as a parish.

Reappointment As Pastor

It occurred to me that I failed to announce on this page that I received a letter from Archbishop Hebda extending my tenure as pastor of St. Francis Xavier until June 30, 2026.  While I had announced it in my homily on May 3rd, I did not think to include it on this website until just now.  I want to thank all of you for your faithfulness and commitment to our parish; please pray for me as I continue in the work of being your pastor and ask God to help guide me in the grace of the Holy Spirit.

-Fr. Meyers

Parish News (5/9/20)

Re-Opening the Liturgy

Earlier today, our Liturgy Committee met to discuss some of the logistics for our plan to re-open Mass at St. Francis Xavier when Gov. Walz’s stay at home order is lifted.  As of right now, it appears we could begin having public access to Mass in a safe and modified manner as early as Tuesday, May 19th if the state’s shutdown is lifted to some extent beginning that day.  We will be sending an email to all of our parishioners in the upcoming week outlining how our parish will make Mass available for parishioners and the protocols that will be implemented at the start of this re-introduction to our public worship.  Please be sure to keep your eye out for this forthcoming email.

Support Catholic Education

Help us reach our goal of $60,000 for our annual Spring Fever fundraiser for our Catholic School.  We have many wonderful items available for auction and the opportunity to support our students and teachers in providing a great Catholic education.  Online access to Spring Fever Reliever: We’ll Stand Together While Staying Apart! can be found here.

Sunday Collections

I want to thank all of our parishioners who have been contributing to our parish financially during these past two months, especially for those who helped our collection last week reach $14,135.  If we can continue to keep this level of giving for the next two months, our Sunday collections will close the gap and help us approach our budgeted income for this year.  Thank you all for your support and be sure to become part of our electronic contribution at one of the options at the top of this page (either as a regular electronic giver or a temporary electronic contributor) or by sending us your contributions in the mail or bringing them to the office.

-Fr. Meyers

Parish News (5/7/20)

Spring Fever Reliever

Our school’s annual Spring Fever fundraiser is set to begin next week and run online from May 11th through May 17th.  Be sure to take a look at our auction items online here and support the great work by our teachers and each of our wonderful Catholic school children and their families.  Join us in our Spring Fever Reliever:  We’ll Stand Together While Staying Apart!

Fall Festival

We are still intending to hold our Fall Festival on Sunday, September 13th at our Catholic school.  Earlier today, the Planning Committee met to discuss our plans and we will continue to evaluate the health directives and Archdiocesan guidelines as we move towards the autumn.  Please see our parish’s bulletin (available on our website here) to learn how to take part in our planning and the event itself.  I ask everyone to pray that our Fall Festival will be a success and that the coronavirus will not be increasing or causing further harm to our welfare as we enter into September and the months beyond.

COVID-19 Ministry

Earlier this week I completed my training to provide the Anointing of the Sick to Catholics with COVID-19 who are in danger of death.  At this time, priests in our Archdiocese are only authorized to provide the sacraments to people with COVID-19 who are expected to die from the disease, so please note that I will not be able to administer this sacrament until the disease has progressed to this point.  I want to let everyone know that the Archdiocese has provided the priests who are serving in this role with an extensive amount of Personal Protective Equipment that is the equivalent of what is used by hospital staff and we underwent a detailed training with medical doctors and nurses; I am confident that the procedures that we will be following will diminish any chance of my becoming infected and contagious to the bare minimum.

Should I develop any symptoms that would indicate I have become infected with COVID-19, the Archdiocese will provide a priest to cover sacramental ministry in our parish during the duration of my isolation and quarantine.  I will only be covering requests for Wright County and ask everyone to join me in praying for all the people in our Archdiocese who have or will have COVID-19, their families, and all who care for them.

First Communion and Confirmation

As we received news late last week from Archbishop Hebda regarding plans to resume public attendance at Mass beginning May 18th, we have now started working on a new liturgical schedule.  I will be meeting with the Liturgy Committee this Saturday to discuss the logistics of the scheduled for the upcoming weeks and naturally all planning is fluid at this time.  However, we did set new dates for our First Communion and Confirmation Masses.  Due to the fact that social distancing is going to be a part of how we attend Mass in the parish for the near future, we have elected to schedule these special sacramental Masses in the Fall as a way of increasing the likelihood of allowing more family members to celebrate these sacraments with our First Communicants and Confirmandi.

Our First Communion Masses will be held on Sunday, September 20th and Sunday, October 4th at 2:00 p.m. each day, while our Confirmation Masses will be held on Sunday, October 11th, Sunday, November 8th, and Sunday, November 22nd at 2:00 p.m. each day as well.  Our Faith Formation staff will be sending out sign up information for families at a later date and please note that we realize these liturgies may be subject to further rescheduling or some restrictions in terms of who can attend depending on the directives from health officials and the Archdiocese.

-Fr. Meyers

Parish News (5/1/20)

Stay-at-Home Order Extended

Earlier this week, Gov. Walz extended the state’s current stay-at-hime order until May 18th and, accordingly, Archbishop Hebda has ordered the continued suspension of public celebration of the Mass through this period of time.  Mass will continue to be offered in our parish for the stated intentions through May 18th and I will continue to make visits to people who have requested Holy Communion while direct access to the Mass is unavailable.  If you have not already received Holy Communion during the Easter Season, please know you are welcomed and encouraged to sign up for a Communion visit at our SignUp Genius located here.

Preparing for a Return to Public Worship

The Bishops of Minnesota gathered earlier this week to begin a phased approach to make public access to Mass available in the near future.  Earlier today, Archbishop Hebda communicated the Archdiocese’s plans in a letter to the faithful of this local church.  The full content of this approach can be found at this link, but I would like to highlight a few points for everyone here that will guide our parish’s pastoral response at this time.  The plan to restore our access to the Mass presumes the dispensation from the Sunday obligation to attend Mass will continue until it is deemed safe to once again enforce the faithful’s obligation to attend Mass.

The movement towards restoring public Mass in our Archdiocese will require the following, as stated by Archbishop Hebda:

  • Those over age 65 will be strongly encouraged not to attend, and anyone showing any symptoms of sickness, or anyone who has a household member who is sick or showing symptoms of sickness should not come to church.
  • The church space will be thoroughly sanitized before and after each liturgy, including all entryways and doors.
  • Holy water fonts will be empty and hymnals will remain removed.
  • Hand sanitizers will be available at all entryways.
  • All local safety orders specifically relating to proper face coverings will be followed.
  • People will be instructed not to engage in any physical touch, such as by greeting each other.
  • Signs and other instructions will be posted to encourage social distancing and safe practices for avoiding the spread of a contagion (e.g. coughing into a shirtsleeve, tissue, or handkerchief; avoid touching the eyes, nose, and mouth).
  • Ventilation will be increased as much as possible by opening windows and doors, as weather permits.

The Archbishop states in his letter that he anticipates we will be able to begin this next phase on May 18th.  At this time, assuming the current trends in our state continue, public access to Mass will be allowed in smaller groups limited to no more than a third of the church’s seating capacity.  Parishes will be requires to observe social distancing for those who are not of the same household.

I will be reaching out to our Liturgy Committee to begin the work of taking these directives and applying them to our parish’s worship and spiritual life.  I anticipate we will be creating a SignUp Genius that permits us to ensure that everyone can make it to Mass during the week who wishes to do so without creating a problem by exceeding the number of people allowed into our church for a given liturgy.  I anticipate this will result in a change of our Mass schedule and adding more Masses to the schedule.  Please note that I will not be accepting stipends or Mass intentions for these additional Masses at this time, but we will honor all intentions that have been requested of us.

The Archbishop has stated that social gatherings and other small group meetings will not be allowed at this time due to the fact that they do not allow for the same controlled movement as can be found in the liturgy.  Small groups in our parish (such as our men’s groups and women’s groups) and our councils are encouraged to continue holding meetings using digital means of connecting with one another.

Liturgy of the Hours Online

As a friendly reminder, we will be live-streaming the Office of Readings from our church this Sunday at 7:30 a.m.  For those who do not wish to join us live, the video can be found on our parish’s Facebook page afterwards as well.  If you would like to join us for prayer, please simply sign into your Facebook account and join us on our parish’s page here.  Everyone is able to pray along with us by downloading the Office of Readings from our parish’s eBreviary account; just sign in using the username nate.meyers@stfxb.org and password STFX#CovidPrayer.

One note to remember when watching these streamed videos, we are recording them on an iPad and the video and sound quality will not be equivalent to EWTN, Bishop Barron’s Word on Fire, or other recordings that have professional setup and crew members.  I strongly encourage everyone to download and even print the prayers to use as part of praying this together, which will help to make the experience more complete and in accord with the Church’s idea of celebrating and praying the Liturgy of the Hours.

Movie Recommendation

I apologize for being so lax in continuing my movie recommendations, so to make up for this oversight I am going to recommend two movies in my Father Recommends section this week.  Check here to see what I offer for everyone’s viewing.

-Fr. Meyers

Parish News (4/28/20)

Liturgy of the Hours

Earlier tonight, I recorded a short introduction to about our subscription eBreviary so that we can pray the Liturgy of the Hours together as well as on our own during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The video is now on our parish’s Facebook page here; check it out to learn how to log into the eBreviary account (username: nate.meyers@stfxb.org; password: STFX#CovidPrayer) and join us as we stream on Facebook Live with Daytime Prayer at 12:00 noon on Thursdays and the Office of Readings at 7:30 a.m. on Sundays.  Just a reminder, the video will be available afterwards as well for those who cannot join us live.

Financial Update

As mentioned previously, a letter was sent to parishioners via email today with an update on our parish’s finances.  If you did not receive this email, please contact Travis Nelson at travis.nelson@stfxb.org so that we can add an updated email address to our records and be sure to send you this and other announcements.  Based on current trends in giving, we are anticipating our Sunday collections could be off by as much as $70,000 by the end of the fiscal year, so please consider giving electronically if you have not signed up to do so or to mail us your contributions.  Contributions can also be personally delivered to the parish office during office hours.

Spring Fever Reliever Is Fast Approaching

Our school’s annual fundraiser will be going online this year starting May 11th and lasting through May 17th.  We are collection auction items until May 8th, but certainly welcome any donations sooner than later.  Be sure to take part in this great opportunity to support our Catholic school.  Keep checking our website for information on how to take part in this great event.

-Fr. Meyers

Parish News (4/25/20)

Buffalo Food Shelf Opportunities

As part of the COVID-19 pandemic, we know the whole of our way of life is being impacted and this naturally is causing many hardships for families and individuals financially and with their living arrangements.  The Buffalo Food Shelf is doing great work to help the people of our community who are food insecure to obtain food for their family.  The past week has been slow for the Buffalo Food Shelf, but they do have a safe process for people to get food.  If you or somebody you know here in Buffalo is in need of food, please be sure to work with the Buffalo Food Shelf.  I ask every to join me in thanking and praying for the people who make our community’s Food Shelf possible.

Catechesis of the Good Shepherd

Our parish will be offering Catechesis of the Good Shepherd for pre-school age children starting next Fall.  As we get ready for this program, which is a comprehensive faith formation curriculum that approaches the faith with an appreciation for the wonder and beauty of a young child’s appreciation of the world.  As we prepare for this new early child faith formation ministry in our parish, we are looking for parishioners to help donate items that can be used to create the learning space for these children.  Debbie Gladitsch, our Director of Faith Formation, will be coordinating this effort and able to provide people with additional information as we move forward in the venture.  In the meantime, please see our page here to see if you can help contribute to this effort by donating supplies.

Prayer in the Church

Beginning this Tuesday, April 26th, I will be leaving the church open for people to come in and pray in it during the afternoon from 12:00 noon until 6:00 p.m. from Tuesdays through Fridays.  We will also continue to have the church open on Saturday afternoon while confessions are taking place.  Please note that we have designated pews with paper on the ends of them that people should plan to use during their time in prayer in order to maintain social distancing guidelines.  We will observe how this goes during the course of next week and make modifications as necessary.  Please do be respectful of the CDC’s stated positions on crowd sizes.

Sacramental Ministry for COVID-19

Last weekend, Archbishop Hebda and Bishop Cozzens made priests aware of an opportunity to help provide the sacraments (particularly the Anointing of the Sick) to COVID-19 patients in danger of death in our Archdiocese.  Priests were asked to consider whether they would be willing to assume this additional responsibility and, after taking it to prayer that evening, I elected to volunteer.  Earlier tonight, Bishop Cozzens informed me that the Archdiocese has agreed to include me in this ministry and I am grateful for the opportunity to help those who will be in need of the sacraments.  I will be undergoing training for this ministry that will consist of two sessions provided by the Archdiocese and medical doctors; my understanding is the training will be completed within approximately a week’s time.

The Archdiocese will be asking me to handle cases northwest of the Twin Cities.  As I do not know what this will fully entail, please note that my schedule may need to change to accommodate this service.  I will provide updates on this as I learn about them.

-Fr. Meyers

Parish News (4/23/20)

2019-2020 School Year

Earlier today, Gov. Walz announced that public and charter schools will not be resuming learning in the classroom for the remainder of the current academic year.  I imagine each of us likely expected this announcement, but now that it is official, our Catholic school will be working on how we will continue distance learning and bring it to a successful completing this year.  The school’s leadership and staff will be addressing the logistics of what this means for the schedule, including what will be the last day of academic instruction and how we can still cultivate community and provide closure so each student and family can conclude the school year with a sense of accomplishment and an eagerness to return next fall when we return for a new school year.

We have every intention of making sure our graduating eighth grade class is able to celebrate their achievements at St. Francis Xavier Catholic School and have a time to be honored just like every other graduating class.  While we do not yet know when we’ll be able to celebrate our eighth graders and their families and the exact form that celebration will take, we nonetheless are committed to making sure it does happen.  As we finalize these social and celebratory pieces, our parish will be working with the Archdiocese to determine the correct course of action.  The Archdiocese will be issuing a statement by May 1st for the conclusion of the current school year, which will also help us with our response to these decisions and plans.

Consecration to Mary, Mother of the Church

Archbishop Jose Gomez, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, announced today that the Church will consecrate our county to Mary, Mother of the Church on Friday, May 1st of this year.  Additional information will be forthcoming on how to participate in this consecration; to stay apprised of this consecration and how to be involved with, check out The Catholic Spirit website here.

Live-streaming at St. Francis Xavier

While I still am uncomfortable with streaming the Mass due to my concerns that I have stated before, I understand the need for people to be able to see their priest during this time and have some access to communal prayer.  In order to meet these needs, our parish will begin live-streaming the Liturgy of the Hours next week.  Every parishioner is able to make use of our subscription to eBreviary; simply log into the website here and enter nate.meyers@stfxb.org as the username and STFX#CovidPrayer.  I will be posting videos on our parish’s Facebook page to help introduce people to the Liturgy of the Hours and try to teach people the way to pray this great liturgy.  The nice thing about the Liturgy of the Hours is that everyone can do it and I strongly encourage people to pray it individually and as a family beyond even those times in which we will be praying them together via streaming.

Our first livestream will be for Daytime Prayer at 12:00 noon on Thursday, April 30th.  We will be praying from our school’s chapel and encouraging all of our school families to take a little break right before lunch to have a short time of prayer together.  Our first livestream Liturgy of the Hours from the church will be on Sunday, May 3rd at 7:30 a.m. as we gather to pray the Office of Readings.  Please note that even if you cannot join us during the livestream, the video should still be available to watch later in the day and join in prayer at that time.

-Fr. Meyers

Parish News (4/22/20)

Internet Safety

Earlier today, I sent an email to the households who have an email address in our parish database offering suggestions on how to keep our homes and devices secure from the threat of pornography.  I realize that a great many people may not be comfortable approaching this subject with their children or spouses, but it is important to recognize the prevalence of pornographic content and the risks it poses to us both spiritually and socially.  If you did not receive this email, please contact Travis Nelson in our parish office at travis.nelson@stfxb.org in order to receive a copy of this letter.  In addition to guarding against the use of pornography, these tips also provide to additional benefits.  First, the proposed WiFi filter will likely help with increasing Internet speed in the home as the servers it uses have less traffic than the ordinary public servers people use.  Second, by implementing these rules even if we are not personally tempted to look at pornography, we set limits to our use of technology that allow us to maintain greater control over it and to be more free from the creeping way in which technology can overwhelm our life.

Spring Fever Reliever

Our dedicated committee for Spring Fever is working hard to make our online school fundraiser a great success this year.  I will be sending out an email tomorrow to our households with more details on the event next month, but in the meantime wanted to send out a quick update to let people know we are looking for auction items to help raise money for our students.  Be sure to help support Catholic education in our parish as we get ready to come together in support of a great cause.

Parish Finance Committee

The St. Francis Xavier Parish Council will be meeting tomorrow night via teleconference to review our finances following Easter Sunday and discuss the financial state of our parish as we enter into the final two months of the fiscal year and consider the ramifications as we get ready for the new fiscal year beginning in July.  Following upon this meeting, I will be sending an email to our parish with details on the impact of the coronavirus and the needs of our parish.  I anticipate getting that email out by next Tuesday, April 28th at the latest.  In the meantime, I would like to remind everyone to continue to support our parish financially by either mailing your contributions or signing up for our online giving options.

Holy Communion Visits

I have thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to bring households Holy Communion during this time in which public access to the Mass is suspended.  There are many opportunities for people to take advantage of this offer to receive Holy Communion during the Easter Season.  If you have not already done so, please go ahead and sign up for this opportunity to receive Communion at our SignUp Genius.

Praying the Liturgy of the Hours

Earlier today, I created an account with eBreviary that will allow every household in our parish to pray the Liturgy of the Hours.  While I am still not comfortable with livestreaming the Mass, I am open to the idea of creating a streaming process by which we can pray the Liturgy of the Hours together through technology.  Our principal, Alisa Louwagie, and I will begin a livestream of Daytime Prayer every Thursday at 12:00 noon starting next week on April 30th.  I am also planning to begin a livestream of the Office of Readings on Sundays at 7:30 a.m. beginning May 3rd.  Over the next week, I am going to record some videos with instructions and explanations on the Liturgy of the Hours, which I will be posting on the parish’s and school’s Facebook pages to help people become familiar with this great prayer in our Church.

While we get everything finalized to begin praying the Liturgy of the Hours together, I encourage everyone to log into the account I created at eBreviary and to begin looking at the prayers and, especially for those already familiar with the Liturgy of the Hours, to begin praying them either individually or as a family.  To access our subscription simply go to https://www.ebreviary.com/ and click the link that says “for subscribers.”  When the login box appears, the username is my nate.meyers@stfxb.org and the password is STFX#CovidPrayer (once you’re logged in, you can click the current day and then all of the prayers for that day will be available for you to click on).

Parish News (4/16/20)

Divine Mercy Sunday

This Sunday will mark the octave day of Easter, which is celebrated in the Church as Divine Mercy Sunday.  Due to the coronavirus, our planned adoration and public praying of the Divine Mercy Chaplet will not be able to held this year, but nonetheless Catholics can join Archbishop Hebda for the Divine Mercy celebration that he will lead this year.  For more information on how to join in this Archdiocesan event, please see the Archdiocese’s website here.

Communion Visits

We are nearing an end to the first week of home visits for Holy Communion, which has been a great opportunity to celebrate the Easter Season together in the bond of the Holy Eucharist.  For those who would like to sign up for future opportunities, please select one of the scheduled options at our SignUp Genius.  As a friendly reminder, the Archbishop has allowed people to receive Holy Communion once during the Easter Season at this time; when signing up, please note that only people living in the household I am visiting should be invited to receive Communion.  If you have friends or family members who belong to another parish, please encourage them to contact their pastor to arrange for reception of the Eucharist during this time.

-Fr. Meyers

Parish News (4/14/20)

End to Employee Furlough

I am very happy to announce that our parish applied for a loan through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) on Friday, April 3rd and was approved for this loan through Sherburne State Bank.  The loan will cover our payroll expenses for the next eight weeks, which allows us to use our monies to attend to other business matters such as the payment of our mortgage, utilities, and other aspects of our operations.  As a result of this loan, we were able to call all of our furloughed employees back to work this week.  We still are experiencing a significant downturn in our income since the suppression of public access to the Mass and will be providing a more detailed financial statement to the parish in the coming week to explain the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic so far and our efforts to address this financially at this time.

Nevertheless, while our parish needs to be frugal and careful financially at this point in time (particularly due to the 2018 financial crisis we experienced), the loan through the PPP is great news and cause for celebration.  I want to express a heartfelt thanks to the staff at Sherburne State Bank, our business administrator Jackie Carriere, and our corporate board for working so diligently to make sure we could secure funding through the PPP.  We will be working to ensure this loan will be forgiven, so please do commit this to your prayer as a way of helping our parish to continue to fulfill its mission in serving God and His people.

Knights of Columbus Scholarship

Our parish’s Knights of Columbus council will continue with its annual scholarships for graduating high school seniors.  Four $1,000 scholarships will be awarded to students who apply.  The students who are seeking this opportunity should supply the following:

  • School transcript
  • A letter
  • Their email address

The deadline to submit a scholarship application is May 22nd and the Knights of Columbus will review all applicants.  For more information, pleas email our Knights of Columbus council at GrandKnight6608@gmail.com

Archdiocesan Synod Update

Earlier today, Archbishop Hebda announced that the Archdiocesan Synod will be postponed for a year due to the immediate needs of schools and parishes in our Archdiocese as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.  We were on track to begin a number of small groups in our parish this coming fall to help with preparing for our parish’s input into the Synod, but this will now be occurring in the fall of 2021.  Please do continue to pray for the Holy Spirit to guide the Synod process and allow it to be a part of the growth and renewal of faith in our Archdiocese.

Pastoral Communication Forthcoming

One area of concern that has been weighing on my conscience since our culture has shutdown is the issue of internet pornography.  As more and more young people are now at home and being required to use the internet throughout the day (sometimes with minimal or even no parental oversight due to professional obligations), there is a greater opportunity for exposure to this grave evil to young people and those who are already immersed in this world will have even more occasions of sin than usual.  As a result, I consulted with a friend who is the Chief Technology Officer of his company to get his thoughts on how to limit and control access to the internet that would be dangerous and threatening to the soul of our parishioners.

I am currently creating a document that will tackle this issue from a theological as well as technological point-of-view, proving households with tools to confront this by reclaiming control of their home against the insidious forces of pornography and sexual exploitation.  I will be sending this document out to everyone via email as well as posting it on our website.

-Fr. Meyers

Parish (4/12/20)

Easter Sunday Together

Despite a decidedly Christmas-ish Easter morning, many of our parish gathered together for Holy Mass today at the St. Francis Xavier Catholic School parking lot.  In total, there were approximately 265 vehicles that joined together in prayer as the snow and wind assailed us.  I would like to extend a deep, heartfelt thank you to all who made this possible–from the Knights of Columbus who did such an excellent job directing traffic to our liturgy crew that helped create a makeshift sanctuary around the bed of my pickup truck to our ceremonial crew to the people of KRWC radio.  The opportunity to come together in a safe way was made possible in memory of Teri Thielen, a truly wonderful parishioner who had a deep love of the Easter liturgies.

 

Easter Communion Visits

Earlier this afternoon, I was able to make it to six households to bring Holy Communion to those who had requested it.  For anybody who would like to receive Holy Communion privately while public access to the Mass is unavailable, be sure to sign up at the link here.  Just a friendly reminder that Archbishop Hebda has directed each household to only receive Communion privately once during the Easter Season.

-Fr. Meyers

Parish News (4/11/20)

Easter Vigil

In a few hours, we will begin our Easter Vigil and, with it, the Easter Season shall commence in our parish.  Three of our RCIA candidates will be entering the Church this evening and while our celebration of the Vigil will be far more simple than usual, the grace of the sacraments will be just as effective and meaningful as ever.  Please pray for our catechumen and candidates who will receive the sacraments tonight, as well as our three additional candidates who will receive the sacraments at a later date.

Mass on Easter Sunday Morning

As a reminder, we will be holding Mass at the St. Francis Xavier Catholic School parking lot tomorrow morning at 10:30 a.m.  People are invited to begin arriving at 9:45 a.m. tomorrow morning and the Knights of Columbus will be directing traffic.  Please note that families who are attend are instructed to remain in their vehicle during the Mass with their windows rolled up.  Based on the forecast (which includes snow tomorrow morning), I imagine people will be eager to comply with these instructions.  For everyone who plans to come together for Mass tomorrow, please be safe.

-Fr. Meyers

Parish News (4/9/20)

The Sacred Triduum Begins

Earlier this evening, the Holy Thursday Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper was offered in our church with some liturgical ministers in attendance.  I must say it was a unique and perplexing experience.  The usual energy and devotion was not present, which is a testament to just how much our liturgical ministers, choir members, and all the faithful in the pews bring to these holy days.  Nevertheless, while the usual energy is not present this year, an energy still does exist.  I cannot quite articulate it, but it strike me that the energy is one of hunger–a hunger for community, for the sacraments, for grace.  In the Triduum this year, we will all be force to experience the reality of the Cross perhaps a bit more than we like, but that reality can instill within us a hunger for Easter.  During these holy days, let us seek to live the Paschal Mystery more fully through prayer, fasting, and anticipation.

-Fr. Meyers

Parish News (4/8/20)

Liturgical Ministry

Over the past couple of days, it has come to my attention that some of our liturgical ministers have been receiving email reminders for the upcoming liturgies.  I apologize for our oversight in not turning off that feature in our ministry program; we disabled it this afternoon and our scheduled ministers should no longer be receiving these reminders.  Please note that the ministry schedule that was published prior to the COVID-19 outbreak in our country is in void until further notice.  Should there be a change to this status, an email communication will be sent to our liturgical ministers advising them of this change.

Eucharistic Adoration in Our Parking Lot

Earlier this evening, a number of our parishioners gathered in the school parking lot to make a Holy Hour together while remaining in their vehicles.  It was quite moving to me personally to see so many people take time to come and pray before the Blessed Sacrament tonight and receive Benediction, even under unusual and non-ideal circumstances.  Be sure to join together with fellow parishioners on Easter Sunday when we offer Mass at 10:30 a.m. in the school parking lot (please plan to arrive in plenty of time for us to begin on schedule with our radio slot on KRWC AM 1360).

Holy Communion in Easter

Earlier today, an email was sent to the parishioners whose email address we have on file in our parish database that contained a link to sign up for Holy Communion to be distributed privately in your home during the Easter Season.  The link to signup for this opportunity is at the top of this page, but you can also find it here.  As per Archbishop Hebda’s instructions, the faithful are permitted to receive Holy Communion once during the Easter Season in a private manner.

Stay at Home Order Extended

Earlier today, Gov. Walz extended his “stay at home” order through May 4th.  While it is uncertain what this will mean for the Church’s sacramental and liturgical life, it would seem likely that public access to the Mass will not begin again until at a minimum May 5th.  I will apprise parishioners of any changes in our access to the sacraments.

-Fr. Meyers

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

Contact Us

Send us an email and we'll get back to you as soon as possible.