Shepherd of Souls Area Faith Community

Members of the Shepherd of Souls Area Faith Community,

Parishioners of the Churches of St. Philip, St. John, St. Gertrude Our Lady,

Our Area Faith Community will be changing our Weekend Mass Schedules the First Weekend in March 2017.

In June 2016 Bishop LeVoir presented the Diocesan Plan for Parishes which calls for of St. Gertrude's parish with St. Philip's Parish as well as the need to reduce the number of Masses in our Area Faith Community Parishes. Since the meeting in June our Area Faith Community Pastoral Council and the four parish Administrative Councils have been meeting to work on implementing the Plan for Parishes and work out a reasonable new Mass

Today I am writing to all parishioners of our 4 parishes that make up our Area Faith Community to announce the Weekend Mass Schedule and the progress of merging St. Gertrude's with St. Philip's.

Beginning on March 4th & 5th of 2017, The First Sunday of Lent, our AFC Mass Schedule will be as follows:

Saturday Evening Masses

4:00pm Mass at Church of Our Lady

5:00pm Mass at Church of St. John

Sunday Morning Masses

8:00am Mass at Church of St. Philip

8:30am Mass at Church of Our Lady

10:00am Mass at Church of St. John

10:30am Mass at Church of St. Philip

12:00pm Spanish Mass at Church of St. Philip


***There will be no regularly scheduled Saturday Evening Mass at St. Philip and no regularly scheduled Sunday Mass at the Church St. Gertrude. The above schedule will be our new Weekend Mass Schedule for our parishes.

Our Area Faith Community Pastoral Council and Parish Administrative Councils will be continuing to discuss the necessary steps concerning the merging of St. Gertrude's and St. Philip's. We will continue with our regular daily mass schedule and use the Church of St. Gertrude's for special liturgies and events. We have invited former Pastors of the Church of St. Gertrude to come and celebrate their 10:30am Morning Mass during the first three Sundays of March ({Fr. Pat Casey on March 5th, Fr. Paul Schumacher on March 12th and Fr. Fred Fink on March 19th} and Bishop Levoir will celebrate Mass at St. Gertrude's on Sunday March 26h which will be the last regularly scheduled Sunday Mass at St Gertrude's.

The New Mass Schedule was worked out based upon each of the parishes' seating capacity, the need for Masses based upon the average weekend attendance, and the canonical requirement that priest only celebrate 3 masses a weekend. The new mass schedule also allows additional time (1 hour) for priests to have time before or after mass to see parishioners and travel between parishes before their next mass.

I realize that changing to this new mass schedule will be difficult for many of our parishioners, especially those from the Church of St. Gertrude. I ask that everyone pray for your brothers and sisters in Christ for spiritual strength and fortitude as we adjust to this new Mass Schedule at all of our parishes.

May Jesus, Joseph and Mary pray for us, as we move forward in this New Year!

Sincerely Yours in Christ,

s/ Fr Joseph Steinbeisser

St John's Catholic Church
106 North 4th Street,

Darwin, MN 55324