Cathedral Announcements

As of 5/16/2020

Dear Brother and Sisters in Christ,
Good News! We are preparing to enter a new phase. As of Wednesday, May 20, 2020 Holy Mass will be open to the faithful. This is a great grace, but we still need to prudently follow some directives and protocols.
Temporary Directives:

  • All the faithful in the Diocese of Gaylord are still dispensed from their Sunday obligation to attend Mass through Sunday, September 6, 2020. Those who wish to attend Mass may consider that they have fulfilled their Sunday obligation not only on Sunday but by attending Mass any day of the week. It is helpful to spread Mass attendance throughout the week since we are not allowed to go over 25% of the capacity of the Cathedral.
  • Those who are symptomatic or who have been exposed to another with the virus within 14 days are not permitted to enter the church. Members of the same household are to remain home as well.
  • Before coming to church, everyone is requested to take their temperature at home. If a person’s temperature is at or above 100.4 (CDC guideline) they and members of their household must remain at home.
  • Those who are at risk because of age (65 and older) or because of an underlying health issues are strongly encouraged to remain at home.
  • Everyone is strongly encouraged to wear a mask/face covering and to bring their own hand sanitizer.
  • It is encouraged to receive Holy Communion on the hand. Gloves cannot be worn while receiving.

Our first phase of reopening the cluster of St. Mary, Holy Redeemer and St. Thomas is to offer Holy Mass at the Cathedral at the following times: 

  • Saturday 4pm (streamed online) and 6pm.
  • Sunday 9am and 11am.
  • Weekday Masses will remain at the same times, Mon., Tues., Thurs., Fri. at 7am, Wed. at 5pmnand Sat. at 8am (streamed online).

Temporary Protocols:

  • Unfortunately, once the Cathedral (250 pers.), Chapel (25 pers.) and Hall (60 pers.) reach capacity, all other persons will be required to attend another Mass.
  • On Saturday evening and Sunday morning, entrance will only be allowed through North and South Gathering Space doors. Trained personnel will greet everyone at the door and direct them to their seating place. It is permitted to use the restrooms, but it is strongly encouraged to use the restroom before leaving home.
  • It is necessary to maintain at least 6 feet of distance from anyone of a different household.
  • For those wishing to leave an offering, a basket will be available in the Gathering Space in front of the baptistry doors. The slot in the table by the sacristy may also be used.
  • The priest will say “The Body of Christ” only once to the entire congregation and everyone will respond “Amen.” Personnel will release pew by pew for the reception of Holy Communion. The 6 feet rule must be respected while in line.
  • When approaching for Holy Communion, communicants first lower their masks and then present their hands, remembering to not say anything. The communicant reverently places the Eucharist in their mouth and immediately replaces their mask.
  • Holy Communion will be only available with the Host. Low gluten communicants must inform personnel upon entering so as to sit in the correct area.
  • Saturday and Sunday, dismissal will be pew by pew following the indications of personnel. Patience and a little extra prayer time may be needed. :)
  • Unfortunately, upon indication, all must exit the building without stopping or gathering.  This is for safety reasons and to allow for the entire space to be sanitized.

We are excited to offer the Sacraments and to come together to pray. I know that all of these directives and protocols require patience. It may help to remember this is just the first phase and the Bishop’s guidelines are meant to charitably balance providing the Sacraments while protecting people at the same time. Thank you so much for all your prayer, continued support and understanding.
Sincerely yours in Jesus and Mary,

Fr. Matthew Wigton

As of 5/13/2020

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ:

Greetings in the Risen Lord! The First Letter of St Peter exhorts us: “There is cause for rejoicing here. You may for a time have to suffer the distress of many trials: but this is so that your faith, which is more precious than the passing splendor of fire-tried gold, may by its genuineness lead to praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ appears.” These past few months, I pray, have helped us to realize and cherish our faith, family and friends with even greater intensity.

It has been two months since we last celebrated public Masses together in our parishes, shrines and chapels across the Diocese of Gaylord. With this public statement I share with you the good news that we are at a stage of beginning to re-open our churches for public celebrations of the Eucharist beginning on Wednesday, May 20. Churches should not open, if they are not ready to do so. Parish opening information should occur through the parish website and on other social media. Each pastor or pastoral administrator, working with their pastoral council, should be sure they have the diocesan directives in place prior to opening for the public to attend Mass.

As we open up our churches for public Mass, expect that these celebrations will not be exactly what we may be used to or expect. Even though the coronavirus curve is flattening, the pandemic is not over. We must take precautions that will keep our risk as reduced as possible. 

Protocols have been developed through a committee working with the Director of Worship, that have considered expert advice from the medical field and liturgical experts. The protocols are meant to complement the wise guidance of the federal, state and local health agencies for the sake of the common good. Below is a list of some things you can expect when you return to public worship.

  • Expect that you will not see everyone at Mass. In the Diocese of Gaylord, dispensation from your Sunday obligation is extended through Sunday, September 6, 2020. Not all will feel comfortable returning to public worship right away and some people should not return right away, including those over 65 years of age and those in a higher-risk category because of health issues and those who are currently ill. However, if you wish to return to Mass your Sunday obligation may be fulfilled at any Mass during the week.
  • Expect that not all parishioners will be able to attend Mass on a Sunday because of reduced capacity. Churches are not to exceed 25% capacity in order to maintain proper social distancing. It is possible that Masses may be held outside.
  • Expect to see all people over the age of two wearing masks.
  • Expect that Communion distribution will be different to afford safe distancing between individuals.
  • Expect the music to be led only by the musician and cantor. Or, you may not have any music at all for a while. There will be no hymn books or missals or worship aids in the pews.
  • Expect other directives that may affect your local community and expect differences between parishes. We are striving for unity in our celebrations from parish to parish, not uniformity. What works one way in one parish, might work differently in another.
  • Expect that each parish may open on a different schedule. We need patience to guide us these next few months.

I ask for and beg your patience as we learn all over again what it means to gather together. This will take some getting used to. I believe it can be done – so that we will be respectful of each other and our desire to resume our public Masses with decorum and dignity. 

During this time, let us pray for each other and support each other as we resume our public celebrations. May what we do in these next few weeks as we re-open, as St Peter urges, lead to “praise, glory and honor” when Jesus Christ appears in our midst. “We adore you O Christ, and we praise you, because by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.”

Invoking the prayerful embrace of our Lady of Mt Carmel, the patroness of our diocese, I remain

Sincerely yours in Christ,

+Most Reverend Steven J Raica

Bishop of Gaylord

As of 4/30/2020

FROM: Most Reverend Steven J Raica

On April 24, 2020, Governor Whitmer extended the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order for the entire State of Michigan through Friday, May 15, 2020. Therefore, in cooperation with our local authorities in keeping the people of our diocese, parishes and institutions safe during this time of pandemic, I extend the validity of the decree issued on April 3, 2020, through Friday, May 15, 2020. This extension includes all dispensations previously granted. While suspension of public Masses will continue through Friday, May 15, I urge local parish leadership and communities to continue their use of social media as well as finding other creative ways to promote our Catholic faith and the bold proclamation of the Gospel of Christ. 

As a sign of hope, I have established an interdisciplinary working committee to help prepare principles, norms and guidelines to assist parish leaders and communities in opening our churches to public worship, celebration of the Sacraments, and parish activities when it becomes safe to do so. This step is a great indication that we are beginning to see some light at the end of the coronavirus tunnel. 

At the same time, I pray for the steadfast faith of the People of God throughout the Diocese of Gaylord. May this time of fasting from the things we hold dear be an occasion to recommit ourselves to Christ, Our Lord and become intentional disciples.

On Friday, May 1, at 12:00 Noon (EDT), I will be re-consecrating our Diocese to the loving embrace and protection of our Blessed Mother. This event will be live-streamed from St Mary Cathedral in Gaylord on social media platforms. Other dioceses throughout the United States, Canada and the world will be doing so jointly at 3:00 PM (EDT). This ceremony can be viewed on many familiar social media outlets and EWTN.

May we keep ourselves under the loving protection and embrace of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, the patroness of our diocese.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

+Most Reverend Steven J Raica

Bishop of Gaylord

As of 4/6/2020

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Thank you for your continued support and prayers through this time of uncertainty within our parish community. As the coronavirus complicates our financial stability, my heart goes out to all of you who are burdened with worries about health and finances.

Unfortunately, due to the same circumstances, coupled with the inability to come together for the celebration of Holy Mass, financial support has dropped significantly. Normally we receive 300 Sunday offertory envelopes; last week only 42 envelopes were brought in. Since the “stay at home” order, while operating expenses have remained the same, income is down 45 percent.

Currently, we priests at the Cathedral have taken a 50% pay cut and many of our generous staff have voluntarily offered to reduce their salaries. We are thoroughly investigating avenues of financial relief, such as federal grants, different employment scenarios and loan options. Thanks be to God, we remain firmly committed to the mission of our Catholic Faith and charity impels us to be actively engaged: Masses are being live-streamed, funerals celebrated, confessions heard, hospital calls made, marriage preparation done, teachers are still working with students and the parish office is still taking calls and managing the parish and school. 

Your heartfelt support of St. Mary Cathedral is essential in meeting our obligations and outreach. If you feel moved in your heart to continue supporting our St. Mary Cathedral Parish and School family, you can do so by following this link. Here you can sign up to give your weekly offertory or give a gift to our newly created Coronavirus Relief Fund which will help support our immediate and long-term needs related to the impact of this crisis.

Recently, I was touched by a parishioner who offered to donate their pending federal stimulus check to the parish. They felt that this unexpected money was not critical to their personal finances and was better applied to parish needs. What a wonderful example of giving. Maybe this is something you might prayerfully consider? 

Thank you for your understanding, for your prayers and your ongoing support. Our Lord is good; He will not simply see us through this moment, He will bring us out better than before. I know in my heart we will be closer to Him and to one another.

Sincerely yours in Jesus and Mary,

Fr. Matthew Wigton

Click here to support the Coronavirus Relief Fund. Your gift to this fund will support immediate and long-term needs and sustainability for St. Mary Cathedral Parish and St. Mary Cathedral School during one of the most challenging times we have faced.

As of 4/4/2020

Decree Bishop Raica:


As of 3/25/2020

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

We are sorry to announce that as of 5:00 pm this evening, March 25, we will be temporarily suspending Adoration during the week. We will continue to offer Adoration and Confession on Sundays from 7:00 am to 12:00 pm. The Church will remain open for prayer as usual.
As of today, Bishop Steven Raica, has been named the Bishop of Birmingham in Alabama. In his statement this morning he expressed his love and gratitude toward all the faithful of the Diocese of Gaylord. Normally he would have to be installed within 2 months, however since he desires to accompany us through this difficult moment with the Corovavirus, he will remain with us until June 22nd. Please see the Diocese of Gaylord website for more details. 
We are very sorry to see him go, but we remain grateful for the precious time he has served us. May we surround him with our prayers in this time of transition.
Rev. Matthew Wigton

 As of 3/16/2020

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I just want you to know that we priests, along with Bishop, are very sorry to have to suspend the public celebration of Masses.

As the Coronavirus forces us to take prudent measures of social distancing, we need to make sure we actively remain in Communion with God and with each other.This moment affords us the opportunity to be stronger disciples of Christ. 

Regarding our Communion with God, we will be providing the following services at the Cathedral.

  • Adoration will continue as normal, however from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm we will place our Lord on the main altar. The night hours will take place in the chapel. We will also be having adoration Sunday mornings 7:00 am to 12:00 pm. We priests will try to be available for confession during this time.
  • We will be live streaming our daily Masses on the Cathedral Website each day at their normal times (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday at 7:00 am and Wed at 5:00 pm). These will also be available to view after the live stream times. 
  • The 8:00 am televised Sunday morning Mass will be saved on the Cathedral Website for anyone wanting to view it later in the day. It will also still be available to view on TV on Fox 32/45.
  • We encourage you to do Stations of the Cross and Bible Studies on using the parish access code: DPR7NN. They can also be done individually. 
  • Please consider making a Spiritual Communion each day, especially during this time period. St. Thomas Aquinas described it as “an ardent desire to receive Jesus in the most holy sacrament and lovingly embrace him” at a time or in circumstances when we cannot receive him in sacramental Communion.

In his letter to the faithful of the Archdiocese of Detroit, Archbishop Allen Vigneron, our Metropolitan, suggested this prayer as a model to make a spiritual communion:

My Jesus, I believe that you are present in the Most Holy Sacrament.
I love you above all things and I desire to receive you in my soul.
Since I cannot at this moment receive you sacramentally,
Come at least spiritually into my heart.
I embrace you as if you were already there
And unite myself wholly to you.
Never permit me to be separated from you.

Regarding our communion with each other, please consider the following suggestions.

  • Prayer for each other (Adoration, Rosary, Divine Mercy Chaplet, Reading the Bible, etc…)
  • Phone calls to check in on neighbors and especially on those who are lonely and vulnerable.
  • Shopping for the elderly and for those with health conditions who are at a greater risk, without entering their homes during consignment. 
  • Families, please continue to work together on the Sacramental Preparation program as listed on the website.


  • The gathering for Faith Formation is suspended but please feel free to use the parish subscription to using the access code: DPR7NN
  • Bingo and this weeks Mentor Meeting for Sacramental Preparation are suspended for the time being.
  • The school will be closed from March 14th-April 5th.
  • Friday Fish Fry's are cancelled.
  • The Cathedral Players Productions of Clue have been cancelled.

We will be continuously assessing the situation and keep you updated. Thank you for your understanding and may Jesus' love always prevail. 

Fr. Matthew Wigton
St. Mary Cathedral

To read the full announcement from Bishop Raica, click here.