January 2021
Notes from Diocesan Offices

Please feel free to put the Sunday TV Mass
in your parish bulletins at www.stcdio.org/tvmass.

January 1 ♦ Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God – January 1 is the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God. Chancery and all curial offices will be closed Jan. 1 and will reopen on Monday, Jan. 4.

January 17 – Vespers For Life – Location: Church of St. Anthony, 2405 1st St N, St Cloud. Rosary at 3:30 p.m. and Vespers at 4:00 p.m. Bishop Donald Kettler will preside at the Vespers service. The service includes music, prayer, scripture and reflection for the over 61 million children who have been aborted since 1973. Monetary donations accepted to Mother Mary’s Fund to assist crisis pregnancy centers in the Diocese of St. Cloud. http://stclouddiocese.com/event/vespers-for-life-2021/.
January 22 – March For Life – Due to current health concerns, the Diocese of St. Cloud will not be coordinating buses to St. Paul. The Archdiocese of St. Paul & Minneapolis is hosting a March for Life Youth & Family Conference from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Details can be found at https://www.archspm.org/march-for-life-youth-family-conference/.

January 31Virtual Middle School Youth Rally – The rally is being planned for youth in grades 6-8. Parish leaders in collaboration with CEM are working on finalizing the details. Watch your emails and our website for more information.

Office of the Vicar General ♦ Rev. Robert Rolfes ♦ (320) 251-2340

COVID-19 Update – In late November, in the midst of a resurgence of COVID-19, Bishop Kettler sent a letter to pastors prohibiting, through the end of 2020, events and gatherings that posed the greatest risk of spreading the virus. This included the suspension of in-person social activities, faith formation classes, retreats, youth gatherings, and board and council meetings.
The spread of the virus has slowed a bit since then, but the virus situation remains precarious. While the governor’s latest executive order lessens some restrictions, it still maintains strict limits recommended by state health authorities on various types of gatherings. In light of this, Bishop Kettler is continuing the suspension of the in-person social activities and other gatherings that he outlined in his November letter until at least Feb. 1. He will continue to monitor the virus situation as we enter the new year. This will ensure any decision about whether or not to allow in-person gatherings after Feb. 1 is made with the most current and accurate information available. Any changes will be announced as much in advance as possible. The bishop communicated this information to pastors in a letter last week.
In the meantime, the bishop is encouraging pastors and parish staffs to plan for a variety of possibilities for conducting faith formation and other activities after Feb. 1. The hope is that these gatherings could return to being done in person, but hybrid or “virtual” models may be necessary depending on the status of the pandemic. Catholic schools will continue to follow current evaluation models and other strict protocols to determine when in-person and periods of distance-learning are most appropriate. If you have any questions, please contact Joe Towalski at x335 or jtowalski@gw.stcdio.org.

David Fremo ♦ (320) 251-0111
Faith Formation and Youth Ministry Zoom Gatherings in January 2021 will be on Monday, January 4 from 1:00-2:00 p.m. and Wednesday, January 20 from 10:00-11:00 a.m. These meetings will be led by parish leaders from across the diocese. Topics and Zoom links will be emailed to the parish faith formation and youth ministry leaders in our database. If you would like to be added to our mailing list, please contact Laura Gorder at laura.gorder@gw.stcdio.org.
Catholic Schools Week takes place from January 31-February 6. This year’s theme is “Faith. Excellence. Service.” Throughout the US, Catholic schools devote special time and attention in celebration and sharing of their gifts with one another and their greater communities. In this school year, Catholic Schools Week is a particularly opportune time to reflect on the witness of hope and healing our faith calls us to bring to the world. Some sample resources for planning are available here, and can be adopted easily to virtual formats:  https://bit.ly/3m7gVyz. Schools can access resources to help advertise on NCEA’s website https://www.ncea.org/csw/Home_Page/CSW/Catholic_Schools_Week.aspx.  Please continue to pray for, and support Catholic education in our diocese.
Catechist Formation  Are you looking for a resource to help form catechists during this time? “The Catechetical Formation Series by Loyola Press is an online training and formation experience for catechists and others seeking to deepen their knowledge and skills for faith formation and evangelization ministries. Developed by Joe Paprocki, D.Min., participants will be formed in areas critical to their vocation as a catechist: being, knowing, and doing. This free, online formation series is co-hosted by Joe Paprocki, D.Min, and Deirdre Mullane, MAPS. Paprocki (a Master Catechist) and Mullane (a former catechetical leader) provide practical and easy-to-digest content that can be accessed in a variety of settings—at home on the individual level or in a group setting for an entire catechetical team.” For more information: https://www.loyolapress.com/catholic-resources/parish-ministry/advancing-ministry-skills/the-catechetical-formation-series/
Emmaus Institute – As was mentioned in the December newsletter, Emmaus Institute was held online. In spite of some technical difficulties to start, classes went well. There was lots of excitement surrounding the topics of liturgy, moral theology, and conflict resolution, taught by well-formed instructors with a wealth of knowledge. We are beginning to take applications for the fall of 2021. Perhaps this is your year to join us! Contact Kristi Bivens for more information at (320)258-7642 or kristi.bivens@gw.stcdio.org or see https://stcdio.org/emmaus-institute/
Castaway 2021– After meeting via Zoom with several parish leaders it was decided we would not be able to move forward with planning a normal Castaway retreat for March 2021. It was decided to work on planning a hybrid model of a Senior High Rally in March or April. More details will be shared as they are developed. 
Confirmation Resources – Resources for the preparation of the sacrament of Confirmation can be found on the Resources page of CEM’s website, https://stcdio.org/cem/cem-resources/. We have recently added the text for the Diocesan Confirmation Guidelines.  
First Reconciliation/First Communion Sacramental Preparation – CEM is looking for a few parish catechetical leaders to give us some feedback on how to help parishes prepare for the sacraments on First Reconciliation and First Communion during a pandemic. This would be a shorter time commitment and would utilize the wisdom of the group to develop resources for the diocese at large to use. Our first meeting will take place the week of January 4. If you are interested, please contact Laura Gorder at laura.gorder@gw.stcdio.org.  
Virtual Confirmation Retreat – A virtual Confirmation retreat booklet has been put together by Catholic Education Ministries. This retreat will fulfill the “retreat” portion of the sacramental preparation for Confirmation in the Diocese of Saint Cloud. The materials for this retreat can be found on the Confirmation sacrament page in the resources section of Catholic Education Ministries website,


Joe Towalski ♦ (320) 258-7624

Bishop’s Annual Appeal Update As of December 14, the Bishop’s Annual Appeal for 2020 has raised total cash and pledges of $1,279,763 toward our goal of $1,300,000 (98.44%). This was made possible through the generous donations of 8,874 people throughout the 16 counties of our diocese. If you would like to know how your parish is progressing toward its goal, please contact Anna Kampa at akampa@gw.stcdio.org or (320) 258-7654.

2021 Bishop’s Annual Appeal – The theme for the 2021 Appeal flows from the Eucharist and is “Gifts Offered by Human Hands”. We are deeply grateful for all the support diocesan ministries receive through the help and participation of our pastors and parish staff.

The goal for the 2021 Appeal is $1,400,000. This is a moderate increase of $100,000 or 7.69% over 2020. It is the first time the goal has been raised since 2016. 

Dates for the launch are:   
Announcement Weekend: February 6-7
Commitment Weekend: February 13-14

Parish kits will be distributed the week of January 11. Individual parish goals and other helpful information will be included in the instructions. The nine parishes that provide ministry to the Hispanic community will receive an additional parish kit in Spanish the week of January 18. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Anna Kampa at akampa@gw.stcdio.org or (320) 258-7654.

The Central Minnesota Catholic magazine – As the January edition of The Central Minnesota Catholic went to press, we were notified of significant delivery delays in the U.S. postal system for mailings like ours. We apologize if this edition of the magazine arrives much later than usual. We are hopeful the strain on the postal system will lessen beginning in the new year. If you have any questions, please contact Joe Towalski at jtowalski@gw.stcdio.org or (320) 258-7624.

Patrick Flynn ♦ (320) 252-4721

January is Respect Life Month – The USCCB has prepared resources for parishes wanting to highlight the gift of human life through key January events and observances. For more details, check out the January Action Guide and other tools on their website https://www.respectlife.org/2020.

Respect Life Bulletin Announcement – 9 Days for Life (Suggested Weekends: January 9-10 & 16-17, 2021)
Join thousands of Catholics nationwide in the annual Respect Life novena, 9 Days for Life, Thursday, January 21 – Friday, January 29. Get daily intentions, brief reflections, and more. Sign up at 9daysforlife.com.

Natural Family Planning Instruction for January & February 2021 
Instruction will be by personal appointment following COVID precautions or virtual by Zoom or Google Meetings. A First Instruction in the Billings Ovulation Method will be offered in:
Little Falls: Tuesday, January 5 & February 2 at 7:30 p.m.
Long Prairie: Monday, January 25 & February 22 at 7:00 p.m.
Rice: Monday, January 4 & February 1 at 6:30 p.m.
Sauk Centre: Monday, January 18 & February 15 at 6:30 p.m.
St. Cloud: Monday, January 11 & Thursday, February 18 at 6:30 p.m.
St. Michael: Tuesday, January 5 & February 2 at 6:00 p.m.
Wadena: Friday, January 22 & February 26 at 5:30 p.m.

For additional sites, information/register, visit www.stcdio.org/omf/nfp or contact Sheila Reineke at sreineke@gw.stcdio.org or (320) 252-4721 ext. 308

January 9 – Engaged Couples Retreat – Location and time have not been confirmed as this may be virtual. See our website for more details or call the office with questions, 320-252-4721. http://stclouddiocese.com/engaged-couple-marriage-preparation/.
January 22 – Retrouvaille – As a peer ministry of couples helping other couples who are living in hurting marriages, the Retrouvaille program focuses on teaching couples communications skills that can help them work on their differences. For more information, visit www.helpourmarriage.org.
January 29-30 – Engaged Couples Retreat – Perham, MN
January 30 – Sponsor Couple Training – 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 two weeks (January 15) before training. Call Janet at (320) 258-7616 or email jdusek@gw.stcdio.org to register. The parish will be billed $110 per couple for the cost of training (which includes Fully Engaged supplies).
February 27 – Catholic Men’s Conference – Decisions have not been finalized for this event. Check our webpage for updates https://stcdio.org/catholic-mens-conference-2021/.

March 6/7 – Safe Haven – The weekend of March 6/7 is dedicated to bringing about awareness of the negative impacts of pornography on individuals, marriages, families and society. Safe Haven Sunday weekend is set aside by dioceses and parishes to directly address the harms of pornography in an appropriate way. Within the context of the Mass, dioceses and parishes are able to provide teaching and resources that will support and protect individuals, marriages and families in making all homes a safe haven. It is inspired by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ formal statement Create in Me a Clean Heart: A Pastoral Response to Pornography. Year 3 Parish Resources can be found at https://www.covenanteyes.com/resources/parish-resources-year-3/.

May 1 – Honoring Marriage Day This event will be held at the Cathedral of Saint Mary in Saint Cloud at 1:00 p.m. for couples celebrating their 5th, 25th, 40th, 50th, 60th or 60 plus anniversaries in 2021. Parishes are asked to send names and addresses of parishioners celebrating 5, 25, 40, 50, 60 & 60 plus years of marriage in 2021 to the Office of Marriage & Family, 305 7th Avenue North, Suite 100, Saint Cloud, MN 56303 or via email to Jan at jzylla@gw.stcdio.org or fax (320) 258-7658 as soon as possible. Invitations will be sent to the celebrating couples.

Elizabeth Neville ♦ (320) 251-1100

Welcome 2021- We look forward to hopefully being able to 'see' more of you this year! At the moment, many events normally planned through the Mission Office are still on hold (Spring Mission Rally; Barndance; Solidarity in Mission Workshop, Delegations) until further notice. Please continue to remember to support our missioners, mission education, Catholic Relief Services, Fair Trade, Rice Bowl, appeals for the Propagation of the Faith and missionary appeals in your parishes. Thank you for your continued love and support!

Linda Kaiser ♦ (320) 251-2340
Now that a new year is here, it is a good idea to take some time to look over the Catholic Mutual Connect (CMG) platform to ensure that all the staff and volunteers in your parish and school are up to date.  Each parish and school should try to get into some routine of checking the platform on a regular basis. The diocese requires that every parish and school be in compliance meaning that everyone has an up-to-date background check and training. These background checks are critical to ensure the safety of our children.  If you need help getting your site in compliance, please contact me.  If you need a report for your site or school and are not able to do that, let me know.  
I am so excited to see the number of schools and faith formation programs that have completed the children and youth training. The training was designed so that it could be completed at home. (Option 2)  https://stcdio.org/safe-environment/. Just have parents complete a slip stating that it was completed for your reports.
Blessings on the year ahead. Let’s keep our children and youth safe!

Kateri Mancini ♦ (320) 229-6020
Rural Life Initiative Conversations of Hope Series: Next session January 14
Please share the below information in parish bulletins and announcements:
The diocese is invited to join us for the Rural Life Initiative’s monthly virtual sessions, Conversations of Hope: Sharing Community Concerns and Resources. Participants will pray and share together in a community conversation around pressing issues in our communities; community leaders will also be part of the conversation to answer questions and share ideas for how to address these community concerns. Join us the second Thursday of every month at Noon. Our next session, on January 14th, will focus on Elder Community Members and Isolation Challenges. To join in this or any upcoming Conversation of Hope, email Kateri Mancini at Kateri.Mancini@ccstcloud.org or register online (for one session or the whole series) at https://www.ccstcloud.org/services/social-concerns

Poverty Awareness Month – January is Poverty Awareness Month! Throughout January, and beyond, we invite you to reflect on the meaning and impacts of poverty in all of its forms. Roughly 8 million more people have fallen into poverty since the pandemic began in Spring 2020. Inequalities related to jobs, housing, access to health care, education, racial disparities, etc., continue to exacerbate the negative impact on those living in poverty. During Poverty Awareness Month especially, we invite you to reflect on your attitude towards poverty and ways in which you and your parish can help those in need. In the words of Pope Francis, “The Christian community is called to be involved in this kind of sharing and to recognize that it cannot be delegated to others” (Message for the 4th World Day of the Poor, paragraph 4). Find more information, visit the Social Concerns Facebook page (at https://www.facebook.com/CCSocialConcerns ), or check out the USCCB’s www.povertyusa.org website for resources on what poverty looks like in our nation and area, and how we as Catholics can be involved in raising awareness and solutions for our community members in need. 

Catholic Century Farm Awards – Please share the below information in parish bulletins and announcements:
Catholic Charities Social Concerns is now taking applications for the diocese’s third annual Catholic Century Farm Awards. Especially during this challenging year, our farmers have endured hardships and called upon their faith to help them persevere, and we want to honor them for that! If your family or members of your parish have been farming the same land for 100 years or more, please visit the following link for requirements and application form: https://ccstcloud.formstack.com/forms/catholic_century_farm_award. Recipients will be honored at the annual Rural Life Celebration (pending pandemic regulations) or a special awards Mass with Bishop in August.

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: www.stcdio.org/pay to make an online donation, under “Tribunal – Annulments”. Thank you for your kind donation.

Aaron Carpenter ♦ (320) 255-9068

2021 Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion – This liturgy will be celebrated on Sunday, February 21 at 3:00 p.m. at the Cathedral of Saint Mary. All catechumens, as a part of their faith journey to the Easter Sacraments at the Easter Vigil in 2021, must be present at the Rite of Election. The Church has gifted us with this wonderful rite and we are called to celebrate it to its fullest. If for a serious pastoral reason, a catechumen is unable to participate in this liturgy you must contact the Office of Worship to discuss the options available. Protocols connected to COVID-19 will be followed and adapted as the Bishop indicates in the coming months. You are asked to register all catechumens and candidates by completing the forms on the Office of Worship webpage: https://stcdio.org/catechumenate-rcia-process/riteofelectionandcall/. Please register by February 5.

Holy Oils – As we did last year, a standard “order” for each parish will be 4 oz. of each of the Oil of the Sick, Oil of the Catechumens and Sacred Chrism. If your parish wants to increase the amount received, your request must be submitted to the Office of Worship by March 1. Please make your request through the online form at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScwObsGS0-JTZVi-nKSlBwB7pG1GfrAXf8UlbWKXt5VdlPRXw/viewform.

All Holy Oils will be bottled and packaged and will be delivered to the Deans on Friday, March 26, 2021. Please DO NOT send your own vessels. If you have any questions, please contact Aaron at aaron.carpenter@gw.stcdio.org or (320) 255-9068.

2021 TV Mass Schedule Now Online – Thank you to the many people who support the ministry of the TV Mass for the Diocese of Saint Cloud. I’m sure you can imagine how important this has been over the past several months. Our viewership and requests for Living Liturgy guides has seen a substantial increase. The 2021 recording schedule is now live. All priests and musicians (along with lectors) are encouraged to take a look to see how you might be able to serve. Sign up at https://signup.com/go/tBYLXwz. If you have any questions, contact the Office of Worship at (320) 255-9068.

Important upcoming dates:
Rite of Election – February 21
Chrism Mass – March 25
Confirmation of Adults – May 22

Bethany Tollefson ♦ (320) 251-2700 Ext. 54621

Exciting news for Faith Community Nursing – The Foundations of Faith Community Nursing Course graduated 10 new Faith Community Nurses on November 20. We are excited to welcome them into this nursing specialty. This group was the first online Foundations of Faith Community Nursing Course and it went really well. We will be offering another online course in May, 2021.

Save the Date – The Faith Community Nurse Partnership of Central MN will be offering a workshop on grief and will include speakers that will discuss self-care, complicated grief, and grieving during especially challenging circumstances.  
Mark your calendars for June. More details to come.

Please see the December Newsletter at https://docs.google.com/document/d/1xbI2DsqawWS8XHLEeAZkOxe_BfGG7o13qmNEiXx6LXc/edit?usp=sharing for all of the details regarding upcoming events and links to additional resources.

Catholic Charities ♦ (320) 650-1641

Catholic Charities 2021 Mardi Gras Celebration is January 23 and we invite you to join us for this year’s virtual event! With musical entertainment, a silent auction, plus Mardi Gras in a Box with beads, masks and more, you’ll have fun and feel good knowing you’re supporting Catholic Charities Domus Transitional Housing and Emergency Services while also helping your neighbors. Visit ccstcloud.org/mardi-gras for more information.

Catholic Charities Senior Dining Frozen Meal Expansion Project Catholic Charities Senior Dining has adapted services amid the COVID-19 pandemic while continuing to serve our most vulnerable population. With all our congregate dining sites suspended since March, the new Frozen Meal Expansion Project provides our community seniors with easy-to-prepare, healthy food options in a no-contact, drive-through format. 

These nutritious frozen meals meet one-third of the recommended daily allowance for seniors. The meals are packaged in oven-safe containers that are easy to heat and eat in both conventional and microwave ovens. Meals are available in quantities of 10 and up to 30 per calendar month. Participants must be 60 years of age and older to be eligible, and all clients must complete an annual registration form. There is no cost to participate; however, donations are accepted. The project is partially funded under a contract with the Central Minnesota Council on Aging as part of the Older Americans Act. 

Visit www.ccstcloud.org/events for a current schedule of locations.

Happy Birthday to our Retired Priests

Reverend William Vos will celebrate his 83rd birthday on January 5.
1664 Payton Court NE
Sauk Rapids, MN 56379
Telephone: (320) 217-2910

Reverend Geno Doyle will celebrate his 71st birthday on January 7.
6205 19th St. N.
St. Cloud, MN 56303
Telephone: (320) 493-1012

Reverend Gerald Mischke will celebrate his 83rd birthday on January 8.
308 Third Street S, Apt 106
Sauk Rapids, MN 56379
Telephone: (320) 232-0794