March 19, 2020 Update Procedure for Receiving the Holy Eucharist

March 19, 2020

Dear members of Saint Mary’s Parish,

Today is the feast of St. Joseph, the patron of the universal Church. The private Mass that was offered today had a very special intention – that through the intercession of St. Joseph none of our parish members would become seriously ill and that with God’s grace the pandemic will be resolved soon. St. Joseph had a spousal relationship with our Blessed Mother to guard her during her pregnancy and in the early years of Jesus’ life. He also had a paternal relationship with Jesus and was his guardian in many ways. I trust that St. Joseph will intercede for us and protect us as our guardian and as guardian of the universal Church.

Since my last communication, here are a couple of new items:

The Knights of Columbus from our parish are willing to help the elderly or those who may need assistance with going to the store to buy groceries or in making other purchases. If you are in need of this type of assistance, please call Charles Altenhofen at 715-573-3730.

ADORATION CHAPEL - As of 5:00pm on Friday, March 20, 2020 the Adoration Chapel will close until further notice.  We will get notification out as soon as we are able to go back to our hours of adoration.

Through the kindness of generous donors our parishioners can now access a Catholic website called FORMED. It contains a variety of good Catholic content to help nurture our faith. You will find movies, children’s programs, as well as topics that you can listen to or read about. In a word – the program is excellent. In order to access the program the following steps are required:

  1. Click on:  for your future convenience this is now a menu item at the top of our website
  2. Click on: sign up
  3. Click on: I belong to a Parish
  4. In the search box, type: Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary
  5. Click on: Nativity of the Bless Virgin Mary, Marathon City
  6. Click on: Next
  7. Type in your full name and email
  8. Click on: sign up

Many from the medical profession are encouraging us to stay at home or at least to make sure to keep our social distancing from one another. I respect that advice. However, there are those who wish to be spiritually nourished at this time with the Eucharist. With that in mind, provision will be made so that prayer and Holy Communion are offered at the times previously indicated. Each person will make his or her own judgment in this matter.

With regard to COVID-19 it is prudent to follow the most recent medical advice and to continue to take proper precautions to avoid exposure to the virus whenever and wherever possible. From a spiritual point of view we can also join in the combat of this virus. A good example of this was given by St. John Bosco in the nineteenth century. He was the founder of the Salesians, a religious order devoted to the education of young boys. He often turned in prayer to the Blessed Virgin under the title of “Mary, Help of Christians.” In the 1850s a cholera epidemic spread throughout the northern part of Italy where St. John Bosco’s oratory was located. He told the boys under his care that there were some spiritual weapons to protect them: they should avoid sin, wear a blessed medal of the Blessed Mother and spend time in prayer. He made sure that precautionary measures were followed – cleaning and washing (similar to what we are hearing today).   Almost daily he reminded folks to call upon the Blessed Mother as the Mother of Mercy. He told the boys under his care that their best protection was to make a good Confession and to receive Holy Communion worthily, not to commit any mortal sin, and do whatever they could to remain in a state of grace. Above all, they were to trust in God’s Divine Providence.

The spiritual weapons that St. John Bosco stressed in his day are still some of the best for our own time. This is a time to remain in a state of grace and to pray as Jesus taught us. It is also a time to call upon our Blessed Mother, St. Joseph and the many saints who are interceding for us.

I will continue to ask for God’s blessing to remain upon us all.


Fr. Joe Diermeier



We are restricted to ten (10) people at a time in the church building. We are also reminded that “social distancing” is being stressed and that we stay about 6 feet from one another. Keeping these constraints in mind, we will try to make available the opportunity to receive Our Lord in Holy Communion and so the following procedures will be in place until further notice:

  • Every morning at 8:00 a.m. a brief prayer followed by the reception of Holy Communion will be available.
  • Those who come for the prayer and Holy Communion will enter in groups of ten. When one group has completed the prayer they will disperse and another group of ten will enter. The prayer and Communion will be available until all who are present have received the Eucharistic Lord.
  • The church building will remain open during the daytime hours.
  • For the weekend – Saturday at 4:00 and Sunday at 8:00 the same procedure will occur where groups of ten may enter the church building to pray and receive Holy Communion. We will continue to offer this opportunity until all who are present have received the Eucharistic Lord.
  • Those who are offering a financial contribution may either send it directly to Jen Switlick, our parish secretary, or may place it in a basket that will be in a location as you enter the church for the weekend prayer and Holy Communion.
  • Other sacraments like Baptism, Confession and Anointing of the Sick will always be available upon request.