Duluth + Superior Catholic Dioceses Halt Masses Temporarily
Daily and weekend Masses have been halted by both the Duluth and the Superior Diocese to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The temporary suspension comes with a dispensation on the so-called "Catholic Obligation" to attend weekend Masses. In addition, all non-essential parish activities are being cancelled; some parishes are offering alternative options for Mass.
The Duluth Diocese is presently without a Bishop. Until a permanent replacement for for the late Bishop Paul Sirba is named, Fr. James Bissonette is serving as the Diocesan Administrator. In a letter dated March 18, Fr. Bissonette suspended all daily and weekend Masses for the general public in the Duluth Diocese from March 20 until April 20, 2020. Here are more details for Duluth Catholics:
- All non-essential gatherings of 10 or more people are cancelled
- Confessions will be available at regular times
- Parishes are to be open for extended periods of time each day in order to allow the faithful an opportunity for prayer
- The upcoming Chrism Mass will be offered, but privately; distribution of the sacred oils will be handled between the parish and the Deanery
- Confirmations, baptisms, first communions are to be rescheduled if possible
- Funerals will occur, but privately and with a small gathering of family as needed
On the Wisconsin side of the border, Bishop James Powers offered a similar letter to Catholic faithful - with many of the same details. The Superior Diocese suspended daily and weekend Masses as of March 18 - with no specified end date. Specifics for Superior Catholics:
- Weddings, funerals, and baptisms will occur, but privately scheduled with family
- Regular confessions are cancelled for now, with the directive to schedule them individually - one-on-one and behind a screen
- All non-essential parish activities - including Friday Fish Fry's - are to be cancelled
- The Lenten Chrism Mass will still be held - without the general public. Plans are being made to live stream this Mass to the faithful
Many parishes in the Northland are turning towards online sources for Mass. The Cathedral of Christ the King (the Diocese of Superior's mother church) is live streaming daily and weekend Masses on their Facebook page (8:30 AM on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Sunday). Click here to follow their Facebook page.
The Twin Ports is in a unique position in that it falls under the guidance of two different dioceses - with each mother church only a bridge apart: the Duluth Diocese on the Minnesota side and the Superior Diocese on the Wisconsin side of the St. Louis River.