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Thank you for your warm welcome as your bishop

Bishop Daniel Felton   
Believe in the Good News

Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ! If we have not had the occasion to meet, allow me to introduce myself. I am Bishop Daniel Felton. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, Pope Francis has appointed me as the tenth bishop of our Diocese of Duluth. I am truly humbled and honored to receive this call to serve you as your bishop. The Vespers service and ordination Mass were great diocesan occasions of celebration and prayer. A heartfelt thank you to all who helped to plan all of the events related to my episcopal ordination.

I am also grateful to all who helped to put together a special episcopal ordination insert in the Northern Cross, our diocesan newspaper. Hopefully, this helped you become more familiar with my background, family, and interests in life — although be a little cautious about what my four younger sisters shared in their articles. Sometimes they tell the truth with a slant when it comes to their older brother!

Right after I was ordained a bishop, I was able to ordain Scott Padrnos as a transitional deacon and Deacon Trevor Peterson to the priesthood. In the world of ordinations, this was a Holy Orders grand slam. Ordinations are diocesan celebrations of those called serve the People of God throughout our diocese. Let us earnestly continue to pray our diocesan Vocation Prayer so that all may truly know and live their vocational call in life, in this case especially to the ordained diaconate and priesthood.

Given that I have been in this new role for a little more than a month, I am just beginning to find my way around the diocese. These past three weeks, I had the opportunity to celebrate the Holy Mass in each of the five deaneries of our diocese. This has been a wonderful occasion to meet priests, deacons, and parishioners in all of the ten counties that constitute our diocese. All of these Masses and receptions were wonderfully planned and celebrated well. Thank you for your warm welcome and hospitality!

Looking ahead, please remember that I am reinstating for the Diocese of Duluth the obligation to attend Sunday Mass and holy days of obligation, beginning the weekend of July 3-4. The reinstatement of the Sunday Mass obligation will occur at that same time for all Catholics throughout the other five dioceses of Minnesota. I am grateful for all of the efforts that were put forth during the coronavirus to monitor the data with a measured safety response. These have been difficult times for everyone.

Given the data that indicates the impact of the pandemic is receding, and with appropriate safety measures in place, I strongly encourage people who have stayed away from an in-person Mass to return. The Masses we have livestreamed have been a tremendous medium during the pandemic to connect parishioners with the Mass and Spiritual Communion with the Lord. However, there is no experience that compares with the actual reception and Communion with the Real Presence of Jesus Christ attending Mass in-person.

As always, there are circumstances that can excuse a person from the requirement to observe the obligation: being sick, homebound, or infirm; having significant anxiety or fear of becoming ill by being at Mass; and not being able to attend Mass through no fault of your own.

If these particular circumstances do not apply, the Lord is eagerly waiting for you to be back at your parish Mass, listening to His living word given to you in the Scriptures and receiving His body in Holy Communion. The celebration of the Holy Mass is the source and summit of our Catholic spiritual journey as disciples of the Lord!

Once again, know how humbled and honored I am to serve you as your bishop. Please pray for me, and rest assured that I am praying for all of you.

Bishop Daniel Felton is the tenth bishop of Duluth.