IT’S GOD’S VINEYARD—The whole earth, that is; and every one/thing on it. Sunday we heard the third parable in a row about our lives being a Vineyard that God created, and Jesus asking who will work for it—now. The violence in last week’s story was shocking—the various messengers sent to collect the grapes were killed, and finally even the Son (hmmm. . .) But not so shocking really when we look at the violence acted out on humans beings in our history: the Holocaust, Bosnia, Rwanda, Darfur. And this month we heed especially the Church’s teaching against violence toward the vulnerable: the unborn, the poor, those near death, the condemned. The earth is God’s Vineyard in which we’re called upon to work with and for all those He’s placed us here with.

In light of the President’s jarring diagnosis of the Covid 19 virus, and now many more around him, at all Masses we revisited our procedures in church to do what we can to keep us all safe. Masks are to be worn from entering to leaving, covering from over the nose (otherwise it’s useless) to the chin. This is required by Archbishops Carlson and Rozanski to be in the church. It’s their right to set this rule within the private property of the church. Those who can’t or won’t comply are to pray the Mass at home over the livestream.

Many people thanked me after each of the four Masses for clarifying this, supporting me to do my job to keep a safe atmosphere. I also got one complaint that the Church was going in this direction” of requiring safety practices during the pandemic.  But this was directed at me, and it wasn’t done in a  respectful manner.  I should have just disregarded it in line with what I’ve said about a norm of respect around the parish. But as with all objections to the health practices concerning the pan- demic, I advised the person to contact the Archbishop, since we here only implement the directions we’re given (even though I personally believe in them).

A staff meeting this week dealt with all this, and also the Confirmation coming up, convent and cemetery grounds, school issues, and our startup of Evangelization before long. My own schedule has included meeting with our parish director of the Advent Giving Tree, and the Archdiocesan Regional Coordinator of Schools; I visited Deacon Bob Birkenmeier in the hospital—hopefully he’s out by now–and I’ve had other pastoral and sacramental visits. I’ll meet shortly with Young Adult Group and VBS leadership. A typical round of School Board—Liturgy—Finance—Parish Council meetings starts again this week.

My “pressure valves” in the midst dealing with all this are, first, prayer—especially a morning session (30-40 minutes) before or after Mass, and in the evening, to be quiet with the Lord and receive strength and instruction; and, weekend nights to take care of my own concerns in my comfortable rooms. For these two months this has included Thank-You Notes to many at

St. Rose for their cards and gifts, and some kind welcoming notes here also.

And the work in the Vineyard goes on.

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