August 2020
Notes from Diocesan Offices
Birthdays of Retired Priests

Please feel free to put the Sunday TV Mass
in your parish bulletins at .

August 3-7 Camp Creation Online Vacation Bible School – “ Camp Creation: Day by Day with God ,” a free online Vacation Bible School, is being offered for parishes and families in the Diocese of St. Cloud during the week of August 3-7. Every Day of  Camp Creation  will have a Bible passage from Genesis Chapter 1, songs, prayer, activities and snack ideas to do at home… and a few jokes! Start saving your empty toilet paper rolls for activities on Day 5! No registration is necessary! No Passwords to deal with! Just find us each day, or anytime thereafter, at .

August 20 Clergy Webinar opportunity  — Catholic United Financial invites the clergy to join them for an event featuring Father James Mallon, author of the best-selling book “Divine Renovation: Bringing Your Parish from Maintenance to Mission.” The webinar is from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., Thursday, Aug. 20. Register for this interactive webinar by visiting:
For those who attend, Catholic United Financial will be giving away limited copies of Father Mallon’s new book, “Divine Renovation Beyond the Parish,”   and providing an opportunity for ongoing leadership coaching through the “Kickstart Coaching”   program at Divine Renovation.

August 25-27 Stewardship Day Join Catholics from around the diocese “virtually” for three mornings of education, conversation and best practices for fostering stewardship in our parishes and Area Catholic Communities.
All sessions begin at 9:30 a.m. on Zoom.
  • Tuesday, Aug 25: “The Road to Emmaus: The Spirituality of Stewardship”
  • Wednesday, Aug. 26: “The Four Pillars in Your Community”
  • Thursday, Aug. 27: “Stewardship in the Digital Age,” followed by a panel discussion on best stewardship practices for parishes/ACCs
There is no fee for this year’s event. For more information and to register, visit .

  • Reverend Edwin Kraemer (Ordained June 4, 1955)
  • Reverend Kenneth Thielman (Ordained June 4, 1955)
  • Reverend Roger Botz, OSB (Ordained June 4, 1960)
  • Reverend Frank Tomasiewicz (Ordained June 5, 1965)
  • Reverend Paul Folsom (Ordained June 5, 1965)
  • Most Reverend Donald J. Kettler (Ordained May 29, 1970)
  • Reverend Thomas Becker (Ordained June 6, 1980)
  • Reverend David Maciej (Ordained June 13, 1980)
  • Reverend Gregory Mastey (Ordained June 3, 1995)
  • Reverend George Michael, VC (Ordained December 30, 1995)
  • Reverend Oswaldo Roche Gerdel (Ordained October 14, 1995)

Office of the Vicar General ♦ Rev. Robert Rolfes ♦ (320) 251-2340
Letters of Suitability – Please email requests for letters of suitability to Kate Steinbach, the Chancery receptionist at . Make certain to include information about the event or ministry including the date, the location (parish and diocese) and purpose. Please submit your request in a timely manner, with funerals being an exception.
Priest substitution – Please email weekend substitution requests to Kate Steinbach, the Chancery receptionist at . Be sure to provide the schedule for weekend coverage including the location, mass and confession times.

Office of the Chancellor ♦ Jane Marrin ♦ (320) 251-2340

Official Catholic Directory (Kenedy Directory or OCD)  – Despite the fact that it is only August, I am sending this “heads up” to all pastors:
The Official Catholic Directory (OCD) will continue doing all changes to parishes, institutions and organizations, within each diocese, electronically. Sometime in the next few months you, or a staff person, will receive a notice via e-mail about the data being gathered for the directory. Please read the information carefully and follow the directions carefully as well. I was so proud of you last year as the majority stepped up to complete most of the information requested by the OCD. Let’s see if we can make it a 100% participation this year!! There were times that an answer was a “guess” on my part and we really should have accurate information being published. One area often left blank was the  contact person , so I automatically filled in that spot with the pastor’s name. You are no longer submitting this data to the Chancellor but rather sending it directly to the OCD – again electronically. Once the deadline for submission has passed I will receive a notice to go online to approve information before publication.  I am unable to approve your data   if any of the areas are left blank.  So  PLEASE  fill out fully to the best of your knowledge. Thank you, once again, in advance for your due diligence with this challenging undertaking. Blessings, Jane

Staffing Changes - As we continue to shift in the ACC planning process it has come to our attention that some email addresses and primary work locations are changing. Please email Kate Steinbach at KSteinbach@GW.STCDIO.ORG  with any changes to your parish staff or their contact information.


Emmaus Institute
The Emmaus Institute for Ministry Formation will be starting year two this September. We are currently working with Saint John’s School of Theology and Seminary staff to provide a safe, healthy, welcoming environment for classes. As soon as the details are worked out, students will be notified on how we will be moving forward this fall.   

Weekly Family Sessions   continue – Are you looking for a resource to help your family keep holy the Sabbath day at home? Perhaps you are looking for a way to build up your family’s faith life. Visit  where you will find weekly sessions based on the Sunday Gospel.

The  Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization has put together the revised Directory for Catechesis . This revised directory has just been made available for all through the USCCB. More information and samples of the book can be found on the USCCB’s store site, Catholic Education Ministries will be placing a bulk order in an effort to get discount pricing. If you would like to order a copy through our bulk order, please complete the form found here: The new Directory lays out guidelines for catechesis for pastors, and catechists. It is a great resource for evangelization. Orders are due Friday, August 7.  

Joe Towalski ♦ (320) 258-7624

Bishop’s Annual Appeal Update – As of July 27, the Bishop’s Annual Appeal for 2020 raised total cash and pledges of $1,090,572 toward our goal of $1,300,000 (83.89%). This was made possible through the donations of 7,538 people throughout the 16 counties of our diocese. 
Checks for the annual distribution to parishes and Catholic high schools were mailed in July. A total of $205,040 was distributed to support Catholic school education and religious education in the diocese. Checks were mailed to the pastors at the individual parishes. Please make sure to cash these checks in a timely manner. If you have any questions, please contact Anna Kampa, or (320) 290-7600
Election 2020 — With elections coming in November, it's important for Catholics to inform themselves about the issues and bring their faith to the public square in a way that serves as a model for all.

Visit our "Faithful Citizenship" page at for a variety of helpful resources, including information from the Minnesota Catholic Conference, the U.S. bishops' "Civilize It" campaign, and guidelines for parishes regarding election season.

Bailey Ziegler ♦ (320) 258-7655

New Benefit for Diabetes Care: Update! The Diocese of St. Cloud is proud to offer a new health and wellness benefit for diabetes care. We are partnering with Pops Diabetes Care through PreferredOne to offer a simple solution for managing diabetes. No need to carry around a separate meter, lancets, lancet device, and test strips. It’s all-in-one, and at no cost to you! 
We began this new offering in July to our employees or dependents on our health plan that have been diagnosed with diabetes. Now,  all employees across the diocese can access this new program.  Employees who are not covered on the diocesan health insurance plan will be responsible for the cost of participating, but are now eligible to access Pops. Pops is covered through insurance for those who participate in the diocesan health plan. For more information, please see the attached flyer or contact Bailey Ziegler in the office of Human Resources at .

Patrick Flynn ♦ (320) 252-4721

September 12 – Marriage Preparation Course – This event will be held at the Church of St. Peter in St. Cloud from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Doors will open at 7:30 a.m. For more details, visit: .

Catholic Women’s Conference, Saturday, September 19, 2020 - CANCELLED
September 23 to November 1 – 40 Days For Life Fall Campaign – Visit the St. Cloud 40 Days for Life website for details: .

Honoring Marriage Day, Saturday, September 26, 2020 - CANCELLED – Parishes are still asked to send names and addresses of parishioners celebrating 50, 60 & 60 plus years of marriage in 2020 to the Office of Marriage & Family, 305 7 th Avenue North, Suite 100, Saint Cloud, MN 56303 or via email to Jan at or fax (320)258-7658 as soon as possible. Certificates will be sent to the couples celebrating these milestones.

October 3 – Sponsor Couple Training – Will be held at the Pastoral Center in St. Cloud from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Registration for couples (names, address, phone number, parish and email address) should be made at least one week (September 25) before training. Call Janet at (320) 252-4721 extension #320 or email to register. The parish will be billed $110 per couple for the cost of training (which includes Fully Engaged supplies).

Elizabeth Neville ♦ (320) 251-1100

Thank you to all the pastors who have either rescheduled or completed your Missionary Appeals for 2020 in spite of the changes we needed to make for your parish/es community/ies. These appeals are a very tangible way for sharing the ongoing missionary activity of mission organizations, religious orders, dioceses, and partnerships throughout the world. Covid hasn't stopped mission and the ministry of our missioners.

Teresa Trout, our new mission educator, will be reaching out to you in the next few weeks regarding her role in mission education with your faith formation, youth ministry and school programs for the 2020-2021 year. We are working on alternative resources and alternative learning programs to be made available for mission education in light of Covid-19. Stay tuned!

The Mission Office still has our wonderful fair trade coffee, chocolate, quilts, crafts and artifacts for sale for your special celebrations or decorating your ne w office at home! Please continue to support small businesses both near and far.

Brenda Kresky ♦ (320) 251 -2340

July Mass counts are due to the planning office by August 15. These numbers are especially important this year to see how people are responding to our current situation.

Linda Kaiser ♦ (320) 251 -2340

The 2019-2020 audit will be completed by the end of August. Let me share a few things I have observed in preparing for the audit.
  • All priests and deacons have up-to-date background checks and training.
  • Site administrators need to check in once a week to notice who is expiring. I am noticing some people volunteering who have not completed training or a background check. That is inexcusable. For some, it is a matter that their background check/training just expired. Others have never completed a background check or training. The Diocese will not tolerate this going forward.

  • There are some employees who have not completed background checks/training. No one should even begin a position in a parish or school without an up-to-date background check which also includes safe environment training. 
Sorry to be so blunt but when the diocese is going through a bankruptcy it needs to be more vigilant than ever to make sure we are providing safe places for the children and youth. 
Please update the parish with the accurate site administrators. Sometimes these things change particularly as new parish assignments are given to the priests. Priests who have moved, need to update their email addresses. 
This is the end of the second year of using the CMG Connect platform for safe environment. I am learning new things each day because of questions that people ask. Please continue to do that because I am here for you.

Kateri Mancini ♦ (320) 229-6020

Catholic Century Farm Awards Congratulations to the twelve Catholic Century Farm Award families who are being honored at a special Mass with Bishop Kettler on August 2, 2020. The Catholic Century Farm Awards are a way that Catholic Charities and Bishop Kettler honor the Catholic families who have farmed and nurtured the same land for 100 years or more. Different from the state or county-based century farm registries, the Catholic Century Farm Awards are an opportunity to recognize the deep connection between our faith and farming traditions, and celebrate our many neighbors who are living out the Catholic social teaching of care for creation through their vocation to farming. 
This year’s Catholic Century Farm Award recipients include:
  • Berscheit Farms LLC, Grey Eagle, est. 1919
  • Jeff, Marlene, Jacob and Mitchell Bertram Farm, Paynesville, est. 1910
  • Brick Family Farm, Paynesville, est. 1861
  • Donnay Family Farm, Kimball, est. 1920
  • Family Farm of Leo and Mary Jo Hemmesch, Paynesville, est. 1901
  • Gary and Corrine Lieser Farm, Belgrade, est. 1917
  • Malley Family Farm, Albany, est. 1882
  • Richard and Cleone McCoy Farm, Eden Valley, est. 1883
  • Merdan Dairy, Avon, est. 1889
  • Rademacher Family Farm, Freeport, est. 1891
  • Schutz Family Farm, Richmond, est. 1877
  • Victor and Ann Uphoff Farm, Melrose, est. 1919

Check out this video highlighting this year’s Catholic Century Farm Award recipients and inviting all to continue celebrating Rural Life in our St. Cloud Diocese:  
Resources on Racism and the Catholic Response The events of the past few months have brought renewed attention to the racial inequalities of our communities. As conversations about this and what our response as Catholics is to be continue, I encourage you to (re)read the US Bishops Pastoral Letter against Racism, Open Wide Our Hearts . Printed copies are available in English and Spanish for parish leaders or small groups by contacting us at Social Concerns . Accompanying resources, including study guide and prayers, can also be found online from the USCCB office of Human Life and Dignity. If you are looking for additional resources and reflections, or a presenter on issues of racial justice, or wish to talk more about how your community can study, pray and act in accord with the Church’s response to racism, please reach out to us to see how our Social Concerns team can help.
Catholic Campaign for Human Development 50 th Anniversary Collection (September 19/20) – The Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) is the anti-poverty initiative of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, and has been supporting organizations working to end cycles of poverty and support leadership development among low-income and marginalized community members of dioceses across the country, including St. Cloud Diocese, since 1970. This year marks CCHD’s 50 th anniversary. It also marks an unprecedented year in which we are witnessing a growth in struggling communities as COVID-19 has the potential to drag people just above the poverty threshold down into poverty. It is a critical time for our church to respond to those impacted by poverty. The annual CCHD special collection will be taken up in the parishes of our diocese the weekend of September 19-20, , 2020. Envelopes should be included in parish packets already; if you need additional envelopes, or resources, please contact me Below is a sample announcement to share through parish bulletins, websites, and social media and communication apps prior to this collection weekend.  Thank you in advance for helping us encourage the faithful of St. Cloud to support their nearly 39 million US neighbors, and over 10% of residents of our very own diocese, who are living in poverty! 
  • Please share the following information in your parises the week(s) prior to the CCHD collection on September 19/20: This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), the anti-poverty initiative of the US Catholic Bishops. Over 38 million people in the United States, 12 million of them children, live below the poverty line, and growing numbers of seniors and families are finding themselves very close to the poverty threshold. As the impacts of COVID-19 continue to hit our communities, we know that these numbers will likely rise even further. But we can help! The parishes of our diocese will take up a special collection the weekend of September 20 to support the US Bishops’ important work of fighting against poverty. Twenty-five percent of our collected funds will be used for local diocesan grants to groups working with those experiencing poverty right here, and all funds collected support further grant possibilities in our area and nationally. Please prayerfully consider how you can support the CCHD collection and our neighbors in need on September 19/20. Note: Please also indicate in the announcement for your parish where parishioners can find their special collection envelopes (ie. in envelope packets, with bulletins, in the back of church, in the pews) or how they can give this weekend. 

Rural Life Initiative Seeking Your Input – The Social Concerns team is looking at some new and exciting ways of offering our Rural Life Initiative and serving our parishes this year in the midst of COVID-19 and everything that is affecting your communities. In order to help us do this best, we are seeking your input. We are asking all parishes to invite clergy, staff, parish council, social ministry and other parish leaders and parishioners to complete the following online survey to share your thoughts, questions and needs with us: . Thank you for taking the time to share input from your community!

Fr. Virgil Helmin ♦ (320) 251-6557

The Tribunal of the Diocese of St. Cloud has established a policy that the annulment process will not be started until six months after issuance of the final divorce decree.
No wedding date must be set until an affirmative decision has been rendered.
The annulment process requires the following:

A) The petitioner contacts his/her parish priest or a Tribunal staff member in order to petition and begin the annulment procedure.

1. The petitioner needs to present the following documents at the time of the application:
a) Baptismal certificate and/or Profession of Faith of self and of former spouse.
b) Certificate of marriage and/or Validation and/or Dispensation
c) Divorce decree (Final Judgment).
d) Current address of former spouse.
2. The petitioner has a recorded preliminary interview (conducted by a parish
priest, deacon, parish minister or a Tribunal Staff Member) - OR - writes a
narrative that covers in depth the following factual information about the
petitioner and his/her former spouse:
a) Description of childhood and home life of self and former spouse. Alcoholism
or chemical addiction in family background?
b) Description of dating process and maturity of self and former spouse.
c) Description of how the decision to marry was reached.
 d) Description of ability to communicate and resolve conflicts.
 e) Description of problems that developed in the marriage and when they
 f)  Description of attempted solutions to the problems.
 g) Description of performance of roles of husband/wife, father/mother.
 h) Description of how the decision to divorce was reached.
B) When there are ground(s) for a declaration of nullity, the Tribunal will contact both, the petitioner and the respondent.
C) Prior to the formal hearing, the petitioner must complete and return the witness list. Witnesses include 2-3 adult people who knew them prior to and during their marriage and can give us information about the marriage. At the time of the formal hearing, the petitioner must bring these witnesses in with them. A witness can be a brother, sister, parent, friend, co-worker, neighbor or a member of the wedding party. Witnesses should not all be relatives. We do not interview children of the marriage. At the formal hearing the petitioner and the witnesses will be questioned privately. 
D) If the petition comes to formal hearing the following will occur:
  1. All testimony is gathered and sent to the Court Members.
  2. The defender of the bond presents its brief to the Judge.
  3. Judge(s) renders a decision. Petitioner and respondent are notified.
  4. Both the petitioner and the respondent have the right to appeal the decision of the Court of First Instance. Also, both are notified of the decision and given 15 working days to review that decision and/or to appeal the decision.
  5. If the decision is not appealed by either person, the defender of the bond signs off on the waiver. Once that is returned to the Tribunal office the process is complete and the petitioner and the respondent are notified along with the parish of baptism and parish of marriage.
  6. A vetitum (prohibition) may be attached to the decision, requiring that either or both spouses must attend professional counseling with a counselor approved by the Tribunal before being allowed to marry in the Catholic Church.
The average length for the Tribunal to process a petition is 12 months. If the process is appealed by either parties, the process may take longer than 18 months. No wedding date can be set until an affirmative decision has been rendered. The Court could require that the person participate in an evaluation or counseling with their intended spouse. This requirement is made so that the future marriage may be happy and fulfilling. 
As of July 1, 2016, the Tribunal of the Diocese of St. Cloud no longer charges a set fee for annulments. If you wish to make a donation to help defray the cost(s) of the work of the Tribunal, it would be greatly appreciated. Please make checks payable to: Tribunal of the Diocese of St. Cloud. Or, you may go to: to make an online donation, under “Tribunal – Annulments”. Thank you for your kind donation.

Annette Jesh  ♦ (320) 249-0280
Foundations of Faith Community Nursing Classes for 2020 – The next class:  November 12-13, 19-20 . This class will be held on-site at Grace United Methodist Church in St. Cloud or virtually if in-person is not possible. $250 Scholarships are available from the Central MN FCN Committee and other financial support options are listed on our website. *This 38 hour class is required for currently licensed Registered Nurses who want to add the specialty of Faith Community Nursing and minister in churches.

TBD – CMFCNMC Fall Workshop – “Developing Trauma Responsive Caring Faith Communities” More information to come.   

We now have a private Facebook site for our FCNs to share news on and communicate with the group. To connect or if you have information to share, contact our president, Carol Engelhart, FCN, at .

No meetings in August. September 9, we will resume Central MN Faith Community Nurse Ministry Committee meetings with a Webex and on-site at CentraCare Plaza, if possible. 

The Parish Health Ministries Program Coordinator hiring is put on hold due to the Covid-19 pandemic.


Minnesota Catholic Conference ♦ (651) 256-7579

Immigration Sunday Minnesota is now moving to September 27 to coincide with  World Day of Migrants & Refugees To begin considering how your parish can mark Immigration Sunday Minnesota we encourage you to view the following resources. We will also keep you updated with further information and resources in the coming weeks and months.
If you have any questions or would like to let us know how your parish will be marking Immigration Sunday Minnesota, please email Minnesota Catholic Conference communications manager, Katherine Cross at .

Happy Birthday to our Retired Priests

Reverend Robert Harren, JCL will celebrate his 80th birthday on August 2 .
1515 N 3rd Street
St. Cloud, MN 56303
Telephone: (320) 253-1513

Reverend Laurn Virnig will celebrate his 83rd birthday on August 3 .
308 Third Street South #206
Sauk Rapids, MN 56379
Telephone: (320) 281-3775

Reverend Kenneth Thielman will celebrate his 92nd birthday on August 16 .
125 North 5th Avenue West #121
Melrose, MN 56352
Telephone: (320) 256-3194

Reverend LeRoy Maus will celebrate his 88th birthday on August 26 .
308 Third Street S, Apt 208
Sauk Rapids, MN 56379
Telephone (320) 281-5764