St. Jude to “open wide the doors for Christ”

MONROE—On May 29, Bishop Frank J. Caggiano announced the Phase II return to public Mass.

Starting the weekend of the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, June 13 and 14, parishes will be able to resume public worship inside church buildings.

St. Jude Parish in Monroe is one of many who are preparing for this Phase II opening.

“It is with great relief, that after three months of going without celebrating public Mass inside of our churches that we can at last open wide the doors for Christ,” said Father Henry Hoffman, pastor of St. Jude’s.

Since the announcement of the Phase I reopening (May 11), which allowed for the celebration of outdoor Mass, parishioners of St. Jude have been able to gather in some capacity.

“As much as the parishioners found nourishment through watching our live-streamed Masses and attending our outdoor Masses, the real connection has once again been reestablished now that they can come together as a parish community and all together recite the Our Father, as brothers and sisters in the faith praying to our one Heavenly Father, shortly before they receiving the Body of Christ in their own church for the first time since mid-March,” shared Father Hoffman.

Parishioners shared their joy at being able to celebrate Mass in the church building.

“I am just so overjoyed to be going back to worshipping with my St. Jude Family. I have missed the love and fellowship and now rejoice as we once again praise the Lord together,” said long term St. Jude parishioner and past-Grand Knight of the council at St. Jude Parish, Jim Bifulco.

In a recent letter to St. Jude Parishioners, Father Hoffman wrote, “The patience and the perseverance of the St. Jude Parish family has truly impressed me over the past few months, as they held firm in their faith, waiting for this day, when they could once again worship in their church, a church that many of them gathered the very stones for decades ago, when the church was built.”

“When St. Jude’s was first closed to public worship, what I felt was a sense of loneliness,” shared Cathy Ritch, long-time St. Jude parishioner who volunteers as part of the church decorating committee.  “I was physically separated from my God in the Real Presence, my Church building, my friends and a rhythm of life. The quiet that followed brought a certain amount of refreshment, but also helped me to realize the centrality of St. Jude Church to my life. Now that we will have finally returned to God, Church, friends and schedule, I am filled with a sense of peace. A sense that God is bringing us back. He is in control in spite of the turbulence that has occurred in the past two months. Thanks be to God!”

“I am so grateful that we will all be together again in St. Jude Church,” said long-term St. Jude parishioner Lani Birmingham.

There is much excitement throughout the diocese as churches begin to open up their doors once more. The bishop also explained that in those parishes that are ready to follow the established norms, the celebration of weekday Masses, Funeral Masses and Nuptial Weddings within churches may also resume after the weekend of June 13 and June 14.

(For more information on reopenings visit