MAY 17, 2020 

Newsletter image 5.17.20















Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

Two weeks ago, I communicated with you that the bishops of Minnesota had decided to ask our parishes to plan and prepare for the opening of public Masses May 18, based on the indicated expiration date of Governor Walz’s Stay-at-Home order. At the same time, the bishops proactively engaged public officials about the importance of some limited opening of our churches for Mass. A plan to resume public Masses in a limited manner on May 18—but only in places where parishes were willing and ready to follow a prescribed set of sanitization protocols—was submitted May 8 to the governor for feedback. Four Lutheran denominations joined our letter to Governor Walz. A number of other denominations and independent churches submitted plans May 8, as well.

To our disappointment, the governor and his administration have not yet engaged in dialogue with us on our proposal. While easing the Stay-at-Home order May 13, the governor’s new Stay Safe Minnesota executive order explicitly prohibited faith-based gatherings with more than ten unrelated people. We are hopeful, however, because Governor Walz has called meetings of faith leaders for next Monday and Tuesday, to solicit feedback on a new set of public worship guidelines that his administration will be producing. The date of re-opening for religious gatherings of more than ten people is still uncertain.

We understand that these are difficult decisions for our civic leaders and that they have many factors to consider in the reopening of life in Minnesota. The bishops of Minnesota likewise have many factors to consider as we determine when to allow public worship with more than 10 people. As faithful citizens, our decisions will be guided by three principles: 1) love of neighbor and concern for the common good, including the health and well-being of our neighbors; 2) respect for public authorities and their directives and guidance; and 3) the rights of the faithful to the sacraments and the duty of worship we owe to God. The faithful can expect that we will weigh these considerations carefully as part of our common responsibility to the state, and that we will zealously protect our liberties to assemble and worship freely.

The bishops of Minnesota will together decide on a path forward and hope to communicate that to you by the middle of next week.

In the meantime, we will creatively work within the ten-person limit to offer as many people as possible the opportunity to come to Mass. If a parish is prepared to fully implement the stringent safety and sanitization protocols published May 9, it may begin public Mass on Monday, May 18, respecting the ten-person limit. We expect that some
parishes will not be ready to begin public Masses because they are not yet comfortable
with, or able to implement fully. the protocols. Parishes should only return to a limited
public celebration of the Mass when they are ready.

We know that many of you share our frustration and disappointment about the
executive order’s treatment of religious gatherings. We ask that you continue to pray for
an end to the pandemic and for our civic leaders, and that you presume the good will of
those charged with these important and difficult decisions. Let us ask the Lord to help us cultivate patience, serenity, and peace of soul during our continued Eucharistic fast –
believing that God will bring many graces from our sacrifices.

Please continue to pray for our sisters and brothers who have died or have become
ill from COVID-19, along with their loved ones, and for the doctors, nurses, health care
professionals, first responders and clergy who are serving them so sacrificially.

Sincerely in Christ,

Most Reverend Bernard A. Hebda
Archbishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis



Basilica Community,

I hope this message finds you and your family continuing to stay well during these challenging times.

Today I would like to update you in regard to two items:

First, as I mentioned last week, we are working on plans for a gradual re-opening of The Basilica. This will be very challenging as we need to ensure a safe environment for all those who come to The Basilica.

Specifically, when we are able to have people at Mass again, we have developed some protocols to help ensure a safe environment for those attending. Those protocols will include, but will not be limited to, pre-registering for Mass, entering through a particular door, taking each person’s temperature, requiring face mask, and sitting in an assigned seat.

It is our hope and my prayer that these protocols will ensure a safe and secure environment for everyone. I will share more about these protocols as we move forward, but wanted you to know that we have been working on them, and that we will follow all State health and safety regulations, as well as directives from our Archdiocese as we implement them.

The second item I want to mention today has to do with our volunteers at The Basilica. As you know, The Basilica has a very large number of people who volunteer in many different areas. While some ministries have continued remotely or virtually, at the present time, our incredible staff is doing many of the roles that volunteers have done.

I know that many of our volunteers are eager to come back and help at The Basilica. And we are reengaging volunteers on a case by case basis, when we can ensure their safety and security.

We are doing this in an abundance of caution to ensure that when people are able to resume their volunteer activities they will be able do so in a safe and secure environment.

As I mentioned previously, I have no doubt, that Church will be very different when we are able to gather again, but we need to take precautions now so we can move forward in a thoughtful, deliberate manner so that we don’t inadvertently put someone’s health at risk.

Finally, if you have any suggestions, questions or concerns, please let us know. We may not be able to implement all your suggestions, or respond to all your questions and concerns, but we will do our very best.

Join us next Wednesday at 9:00am for Zoom Coffee and Conversation for an opportunity to talk about different aspects of our parish life.


O Mary, you always brighten our path as a sign of salvation and of hope. We entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick, who at the Cross, took part in Jesus’ pain while remaining steadfast in faith. 

O loving Mother, you know what we need, and we are confident you will provide for us as at Cana in Galilee. Intercede for us with your Son Jesus, the Divine Physician, for those who have fallen ill, for those who are vulnerable, and for those who have died. 

Intercede also for those charged with protecting the health and safety of others and for those who are tending to the sick and seeking a cure. 

Help us, O Mother of the Divine Love, to conform to the will of the Father and to do as we are told by Jesus, who took upon himself our sufferings and carried our sorrows, so as to lead us, through the Cross, to the glory of the Resurrection. 



News and Resources

Domestic Church Resource

Livestream Mass

Weekly Newsletter

Events Calendar




MAY 10, 2020



I hope this message finds you and your family continuing to stay well during these challenging times.

Please join us for the livestream of our daily Masses at Noon and Sundays at 9:30am.

We have been informed that The Basilica will receive a Payroll Protection Loan to continue our vital operations during this challenging time. 

Thank you to all of you who have continued to financially support The Basilica. Please know of my great gratitude for your generosity. If you find yourself needing financial support, we invite you to connect with our St. Vincent de Paul Ministry. 

We are beginning to work on plans for a gradual re-opening of The Basilica. We will follow all State health and safety regulations, as well as directives from our Archdiocese to keep everyone safe. 

Please look for our Domestic Church Resource packet later this week. It will be available on our website and sent out via email. 

Join us next Wednesday at 9:00am for Zoom Coffee and Conversation. 


To you, O Blessed Joseph, do we come in our tribulation, and having implored the help of your most holy Spouse, we confidently invoke your patronage also.

Through that charity which bound you to the Immaculate Virgin, Mother of God, and through the paternal love with which you embraced the Child Jesus, we humbly beg you graciously to regard the inheritance which Jesus Christ has purchased by His Blood, and with your power and strength to aid us in our necessities.

O most watchful Guardian of the Holy Family, defend the chosen children of Jesus Christ. 

O most loving father, ward off from us every contagion of error and corruption influence.

O our most mighty protector, be kind to us and from heaven, assist us in our struggle with the power of darkness. 

As once you rescued the Child Jesus from deadly peril, so now protect God’s Holy Church from snares of the enemy and from all adversity; shield, too, each one of us by your constant protection, so that supported by your example and your aid, we may be able to live piously, to die in holiness, and to obtain eternal happiness in heaven. 

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

I remain grateful for your commitment even in these difficult days to give joyful witness to the Resurrection of Jesus. I deeply appreciate the sacrifices that you have been making so that we as the Catholic community can give concrete witness to our respect for human life, and tend to the physical and spiritual well-being of our brothers and sisters.

With the extension of Governor Walz’s Stay-at-Home Order until May 18, the public celebration of Mass in the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis will continue to be suspended until that date.

The Bishops of Minnesota gathered yesterday after the governor’s news conference to carefully consider our own phased approach back into having public Masses. We recognize that when we return to public Masses, we will have to do so with carefully defined protocols in order to keep people safe and to prevent the spread of the virus. We know that if we work together we can do this safely.

We need to begin now to work with our priests and parish leaders so that we could be ready to begin some limited public Masses on May 18. We are developing a gradual, multi-phase approach to the return to public worship. We are in phase one right now. Phase two will allow us to begin some public Masses, and phase three would allow us to have larger gatherings. These phases will allow for the ability to re-evaluate the process as necessary in order to ensure the health and safety of the community going forward. Our plan presumes that throughout the state the dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation will continue until such a time that it is safe for all to return.

All phases of this plan require following strict guidelines for social distancing and sanitization.

  • 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 service, including all entryways and doors. Holy water fonts will be empty and hymnals removed.
  • Signs will be posted concerning social distancing and sanitation requirements and reminders to follow these requirements will be offered.
  • 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 engage in any physical touch, such as by greeting each other.
  • Signs and other instructions will encourage normal safe practices necessary to avoid the spread (e.g. cough or sneeze into a shirtsleeve, handkerchief, or tissue; avoid touching the eyes, nose, and mouth).
  • Ventilation will be increased as much as possible by opening windows and doors, as weather permits.

While we are in phase one, our churches can be open daily for prayer, and priests can provide for adoration of the Blessed Sacrament as they are able. Confessions can happen in spaces that are well-ventilated with adequate social distancing, yet still assuring the privacy of the sacrament. Many parishes have held confessions outdoors, which can work well. It is also permissible to celebrate weddings or funerals with 10 people or fewer present. Outdoor Masses without the distribution of Holy Communion, including benediction where people remain in their cars, minimizing the danger of spreading infection, are also allowed.

We anticipate beginning phase two on May 18. We will be working with public officials in a collaborative way to meet that goal. During phase two, public Masses in churches will be allowed in smaller groups limited to no more than 1/3 of the seating capacity of the Church (approximately every 3rd pew). Parishes are always required to observe the prevailing directives for social distancing between those not of the same household.

Parishes will need to develop ways to ensure that this capacity limit is strictly followed, such as by implementing online signups and having ushers in place to ensure crowds are limited and controlled. Since the Sunday obligation has been dispensed, Catholics will be encouraged to attend other Masses during the week instead of on Sunday, in order to spread out the numbers. More Masses than usual will need to be offered in some cases to accommodate everyone who desires to attend Mass during this phase.

We intend to provide detailed protocols to be followed for the celebration of Mass and the distribution of Holy Communion well in advance of the date when public Masses will resume, so that parishes can make preparations for the careful way we will have to move forward. Social gatherings and other small group meetings will not be allowed during phase two, since they do not have the same controlled movement as Mass. Some other sacramental celebrations may be allowed, but they may never exceed 1/3 of the seating capacity of the church. If a liturgical celebration or event cannot maintain the capacity and other social distancing requirements, it may not take place during this phase.

At this point it is unknown when we would be able to enter phase three, which would provide more opportunity for us to have larger celebrations. We will continue to evaluate and follow the guidance of civil authorities and public health experts.

Please continue to pray for our brothers and sisters who have died from COVID-19, for those who mourn them, for those who are sick from this disease and for the people who are caring for them, often at great risk to themselves and their families. Know of my prayers for them and for you and your loved ones.

As we enter into this month of May, I offer my prayers for each of you through our Blessed Mother, Consoler of the Afflicted, and remain,

Sincerely in Christ,

Most Reverend Bernard A. Hebda

Archbishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis