An open letter to Archbishop Hebda

Mike KnaakLetter to the Editor, Print Sartell - St. StephenLeave a Comment

Amy Bergeron, Sartell

Dear Archbishop Hebda,
I am a lifelong practicing Catholic. It is with a sad heart that I listened to your statement and intention to defy Gov Walz’s executive  Covid-19 restrictions around gatherings, which includes places of worship. I know the St Paul Cathedral is huge, extravagantly beautiful and accommodates thousands. I fear your archbishop chair view, however, is myopic. Your statements re-open deep wounds of misguided church power and authority. It is my concern that you missed the point of caring, unity and leadership for a whole flock, who live outside the borders of ‘your’ cathedral. You had a great opportunity to model Christ in humility, prayerful wisdom and obedience.  Instead, you seemed to forget about community, faith and prayer in an age, where we can, and have, creatively been brought together in worship with spiritual teaching, reading of the Word, and even  Mass on our TVs, computers and phones. Why not bring us together, instead of dividing us about coming (or not coming) to a building to worship? 
This week, I saw the demolition of my home-town church in Melrose, destroyed by arson; another really sad story. It was the spiritual home of a “strong faith community,” so say Restore St. Mary advocates. Unfortunately the strength of the faith community has been put to the test… a people now scattered and bitterly divided with the loss of our great historic Church AND missteps in pastoral care by Archbishop Kettler, in the Diocese of St Cloud. 
This is so very hurtful. Is not our faith more than a house of worship?  
So here is my question for your prayerful consideration. Where is Catholic leadership in looking after the faith and common good? What is true shepherding? What is in the service and care to the Catholic community that buildings don’t provide?
In summary then, it is my concern that this is not the time for the Catholic Church to be yet another source of pain and division. If you pray today, instead of lifting up your voice to speak… please try more listening. It is something we all need more of, including me.  
God bless.

Author: Mike Knaak

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