Holy Name of Jesus Response to Coronavirus

Gradually Lifting our Covid Restrictions

Governor Walz announced the end of Minnesota’s statewide mask requirement aligning with new CDC guidance on face coverings. Minnesotans who are not fully vaccinated are strongly recommended to wear face coverings indoors. Beginning on the weekend of May 29/30 the six-foot social distancing restrictions will end. Out of concern for any parishioner who may have some reservations about how safe it is to return to church we are keeping every other pew closed in the section near the Adoration Chapel only. This section will require social distancing and mask wearing.  This will be for a limited time and will hopefully allow parishioners to reach a comfort level attending Mass.

On the weekend of May 23, we began singing all of the liturgical Mass parts as a congregation during Mass. We plan on gradually adding more singing the following two weeks to include Opening, Preparation of the Gifts, Communion and Closing songs, returning to our normal amount of singing. We will continue to project the words and we will eventually return to using Mass programs (disposable) and hymnals.

The Archdiocese has given parishes guidelines for the return to normal worship practices.  Our customary practices that were restricted due to Covid will be reinstated over the coming weeks.  We will invite parishioners to process the bread and wine forward and the ushers will return to taking up the collection by passing baskets after July 1. You will notice a return to two servers and two lectors in the coming weeks. There will be other changes, such as the Sign of Peace, over the summer weeks as we continue to return to our normal way of worship at Holy Name of Jesus. Ongoing safety protocols include:

  • Masks are no longer required for those that are fully vaccinated. Those who are not protected should continue to wear a mask and stay safe.
  • Do what you are comfortable doing. You may always individually practice more restrictive facemask and social distance standards than are required. 
  • Our Extraordinary Ministers of Communion will continue to wear a mask when they distribute Holy Communion.
  • If you are sick, stay at home.
  • Vulnerable persons and those caring for them should stay safe.
  • Sanitization is effective. Continue to regularly wash your hands and use hand sanitizer as needed.  We will continue to sanitize the church on a regular basis. 
  • The more who are vaccinated, the sooner herd immunity will be achieved.
  • The obligation to attend Mass on Sundays continues to be suspended. The bishops of Minnesota will in due time reinstate the obligation and will communicate this to all the faithful.
  • We will continue to record the Sunday Mass each week.

Nov. 25, 2020 Letter from Fr. Steve


As you know, over the next four weeks our health care system is at a critical point as admissions to hospitals are surging. In addition to our prayers for those who are ill and for those caring for them, I believe there may be additional opportunities for us to do what we can to help slow down the spread of covid-19. Archbishop Hebda is asking parishes to consider postponing or moving to a virtual realm parish meetings and group gatherings planned for December. 

This week our staff began to examine the activities scheduled between now and Christmas to determine what we could postpone, reschedule, or move to a virtual (Zoom or Livestream) format. I realize that many groups normally take a break in December so I don’t expect this to be too much of a burden. However, our staff is contacting groups that meet during the week to determine how best to proceed. Please call the parish office if you have any questions. All information concerning Holy Name of Jesus School will be sent to parents through the school office. Our goal is to do all we can to help minimize the spread of the virus and keep people as safe as possible.

We continue to celebrate Sunday Mass both in-person and through our recorded Mass online. The dispensation from the Sunday Mass obligation continues, so if you are in an at-risk category (older than 65, have compromised health, etc.) you are encouraged to worship with us virtually. Daily Mass is celebrated Monday through Friday at 8 a.m. You are always welcome to join us.

Also, remember to stay home if you are not feeling well or if you are awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test. These small sacrifices are vital to minimizing the spread of the virus.

Finally, I pray that you will have a blessed Advent as we await the celebration of the Lord’s birth at Christmas.

Fr. Steve Ulrick


Masks are required at HNOJ

Note, the cover article in the August newsletter was written and sent to the publisher before the Gov. Tim Walz mask mandate was announced. In keeping with the mandate, masks are required in the building and at Mass in accordance with state guidelines.

See our August newsletter cover article for details on what you can expect if you come to Mass.


New letter from Archbishop Hebda May 23, 2020

Archbishop Hebda released a new letter May 23 announcing that parishes can hold Mass with 25% capacity or 250 people, whichever is less. Read the full pdf letter or read the letter and/or watch the video on the Archdiocese website.

Fr. Steve and the liturgy commission have been planning HNOJ's return to a safe Mass and will have information and instructions to share on May 26. 

Letter from Catholic Bishops of MN, May 20, 2020

Shared Experiences

We have created a space for you to share mercies and graces—small and big. Whether in a sentence or 12 paragraphs, anonymously or by name, we invite you to share these graces here. With all the bad news surrounding us, let’s share some good news with each other. And perhaps the good news we share will inspire us to take the lessons we are learning and the graces we are receiving into our post-COVID-19 lives.

Click here to share your reflection: https://www.hnoj.org/covid19reflections


March 19: Letter From Father Steve - Re: Suspension of Mass

Greetings members of Holy Name of Jesus, 

Over the past few days, the health department has advised that congregational gatherings should be avoided in order to help contain COVID-19 or coronavirus. Last night, Archbishop Hebda announced his decision to suspend all regularly scheduled public celebrations of Mass.  

His decision, while very good, requires a huge sacrifice for us. Our belief in the Eucharist and its importance in our life as a faith community is valued by all. While it’s not possible to gather physically, my staff and I are looking for ways to remain spiritually connected with you. Every day, Fr. Colin and I will celebrate Mass privately and will be offering it for you. I’m pleased to announce that we will record Sunday Mass and make it available on our web site www.hnoj.org/worship-live  and Facebook on Sunday morning. When we are unable to receive Holy Communion physically, the Church urges us to consider a “spiritual communion.” Inviting Jesus into our heart and soul is part of our tradition.   

We are also exploring ways to provide you with tools to aid your private and family prayer time. I’m pleased to report that both the pastoral and teaching staff have initiated ways to stay in contact with those they serve. Watch for email and our other social media outlets for further information.  There are other great resources on-line such as www.formed.org. We will continue to share other resources with you.  

The church is available for private prayer throughout the week. Parish office hours have been reduced as the number of parishioners coming has diminished. However, our staff continues to work remotely and is available by phone and email.  

I do need your help. I hope you are able to continue supporting us financially. Contributions can be made by mail or by our online platform called WeShare, which can be accessed at https://hnoj.weshareonline.org/.

The mission entrusted to us of becoming 21st Century Disciples will continue. The challenge is to find new ways to advance this awesome task.  

Let us pray for one another.  

In Christ,  

Fr. Steve  

Dear Members of Holy Name of Jesus,

Due to the increasing number of confirmed cases of COVID-19/coronavirus in Minnesota, Archbishop Hebda announced his decision to dispense all Catholics in the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis from their obligation to attend Sunday Mass, until further notice. This is a rare dispensation and a decision he said he did not take lightly. Click to open a copy of the Archbishop’s letter.

Despite the Sunday Mass dispensation, Archbishop Hebda provided some simple ways to stay spiritually connected to the Church and to each other, like participating in a special fast this Wednesday, March 18, and other important ways to increase our spiritual devotion during Lent.

We are here to support your spiritual journey and continue delivering the latest updates during this challenging time. Here is how you can stay involved:

  • Monitor our parish website, www.hnoj.org, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for prayer intentions, news and events updates.
  • Watch for emails with the latest information. If you are currently not receiving emails from us, contact Michelle Hudlow at mhudlow@hnoj.org or sign up online.
  • Listen to the Lenten podcast. There are CD’s available in the gathering space or use your favorite podcast app and search for Holy name of Jesus. Or use the MyParish app and click on the podcast icon.
  • Participate in electronic giving to support our ongoing ministries and operations. One time donations or scheduled giving is available. See our website page https://www.hnoj.org/online-donations for more information. Another option is to mail your contribution. 

As you may have seen at daily Mass, Holy Name of Jesus has observed no-touch worship this week. We want to do everything we can to reduce the risk of disease transmission for those who decide to attend Mass over the next few weeks. These are the things we are doing at Mass:

  • We will be offering the Sign of Peace without touching.
  • We will refrain from hand-holding during the Our Father.
  • We will not offer Communion from the Chalice
  • We are encouraging all parishioners to receive Communion on the hand due to the increased risk of receiving Communion on the tongue.  Fr. Colin will distribute only for those who still wish to receive Communion on the tongue.  He will be in the back-left of the church.
  • We will be recycling the worship aides after each Mass rather than re-using them.

Right now, the parish staff and leadership team are working together to determine the course of our large group gatherings. We are checking with reliable sources, such as the Minnesota Department of Health and CDC, as well as local public health experts to make sure we have the best and latest information. We will prayerfully consider that information and together make prudent decisions, and communicate those decisions to you, our parish family.

Please hold all of those impacted by the Coronavirus in your prayers. The impact on the elderly and the underprivileged is extremely devastating. As well as those who depend on their daily work to feed and clothe their families. My heart is with those told to stay home or to "stock up" when that is not an option. Please take a few extra minutes this morning to hold them up and prayer. And I am holding all of you up in prayer as we navigate this as a community and a family.

We thank you for your support and faithfulness to our parish community. We are confident that together, with God’s help and guidance, we will make it through this time of uncertainty.


Father Steve, Staff and Parish Leadership.

COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs

If you have questions about the COVID-19 Vaccine, the Archdiocese has provided answers to some commonly asked questions in this document.

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops statement on the Johnson and Johnson Vaccine.

2021 Summer Choir and HNOJ Music Ministry

As we enter summer, we have decided to not reconvene the Summer Choir this year.  Mandy Johnson, the director, is expecting her second child at the end of June and will be busy with their new baby. 

We are going to continue our Cantor ministry and we will also be using some small ensembles when we can gather enough singers. This will be our model for this summer of 2021, and we will reevaluate for 2022. 

If you're interested in singing with a small ensemble of singers over the summer, please email Judy Hodgson at jhodgson@hnoj.org

If you have been involved in our various choirs in the past, please watch for an email this summer with some information for the fall of 2021. 

We will be returning to a new normal for our music ministry as we continue to come out of the Covid pandemic. We are working on some different models and ways of providing music on the weekends. We will definitely be offering the opportunity for choir, but it will likely be different than in the past.

We also want to invite anyone interested in singing or playing an instrument at Holy Name to consider joining us in September.  Much of our plan is still to be determined and we will be seeking your input if you have been involved as a member of a choir.