Twin Cities Archbishop Bernard Hebda talked with Governor Tim Walz yesterday (Thurs), making his case for allowing church services to resume, as the state relaxes COVID-19 restrictions.   Hebda says many people tell him how much they miss public celebration of Mass because they depend on Holy Communion to get through challenges in life:

“There was one gentleman… who talked about the fact he’s been in recovery for many years, and he said what makes that possible is that he goes to Mass every morning and receives Communion. And he says this has really been a difficult time for him without that.”

Parishioners watching the Mass on-line of course cannot receive Holy Communion. No details of the visit between the governor and archbishop have been officially released.

Hebda talks about planned safety measures:

“Making sure that the priest’s hands or the deacon’s hands are sanitized, and also the hands of those who would be receiving.   They’re going to be coming forward wearing a mask…. The only time they would be bringing down the mask is when they’re going to receive Communion.”

Hebda says they’ve also proposed moving Communion to the very end of Mass so parishioners would leave the church immediately after receiving it, instead of returning to the pews.

State Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm says religious gatherings can pose special risks:

“We just continue to stress the value and the importance of doing the things we can do to protect the community from spread, and we appreciate that that comes at a great cost and a great disappointment.”

Malcolm:

“There have been some very well-documented experiences around the country and here in Minnesota in a number of communities, where there’s been spread that wouldn’t have been predicted.”