Bishop and Task Force issue guidelines on celebrating the Eucharist during the pandemic

April 29, 2020
It was March 16, 2020 in response to the directives from the CDC and governmental agencies that  Bishop Matthew Gunter suspended in-person public worship in the Diocese of Fond du Lac. Today, together with the diocesan Covid Task Force, he has released Celebrating Eucharist During the Covid Pandemic to provide direction during the current pandemic situation. The document provides direction by which the Eucharist may be celebrated in a congregation. Offering the Eucharist in this fashion is optional.

“The intent is to allow for the Eucharist, with a small community gathering in-person to represent the congregation as a whole” Bishop Gunter commented. “It is not a return to our regular worship, but the Church providing the opportunity to have Eucharist given our current circumstance.” Conditions for the Eucharist include only 3 or 4 persons present for the service who maintain social distance. The directions are within Wisconsin’s Stay Safe at Home order and are at least as safe as going to the grocery store.

It is expected that congregations who exercise this option may livestream or record it for online distribution. Those participating online may be using a form of spiritual communion in the Christian tradition: when one is unable — because of some unavoidable exigency — to participate in the Eucharist and/or to physically receive the Sacrament. St Thomas Aquinas once defined Spiritual Communion as “an ardent desire to receive Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament and in lovingly embracing him as if we had actually received him.” St Teresa of Avila wrote: “When you do not receive communion and you do not attend Mass, you can make a spiritual communion, which is a most beneficial practice; by it the love of God will be greatly impressed on you.” St Jean Vianney, the Curé d’Ars, wrote “A spiritual communion acts on the soul as blowing does on a cinder-covered fire which was about to go out. Whenever you feel your love of God growing cold, quickly make a spiritual communion.”


Door County Emergency Response Fund gives out over $35,000 to local organizations

The Door County Emergency Response Fund has distributed nearly $36,000 in grants to six not for profit organizations in Door County in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Boys and Girls Club of Door County was awarded the largest grant–$14,449–for its free meal program. The next largest grant of $$11,000 went to Door County Meals Cooperative for providing supplies to local school districts’ breakfast and lunch programs, and for coordinating meal deliveries.
Also receiving grants were the Washington Island Community Health Program, HELP of Door County, Door County Medical Center Foundation, and Door County Fire Chief’s Relief Fund.

The Emergency Response Fund is being coordinated by  United Way of Door County and the Door County Community Foundation.  Read more about the program here.

Governor issues stay-at-home order
March 24  2020

The governor of the state of Wisconsin, Tony Evers,  has issued a stay-at-home directive to all residents of Wisconsin effective at 8 am Wednesday, March 25 and continuing until April 24. The only exceptions to staying home are essential activities (including emergency health care, grocery and essential household supplies, outdoor recreation with social distancing, essential business services, caregiving; essential government functions; food production; child care centers; financial services; media; religious gatherings of fewer than ten persons; social services; transportation).   The order encourages schools and libraries to continue to operate through online services. It supersedes Governor Evers’ public health emergency declaration of March 12.

In the directive Evers cites the rapid increase of Wisconsin COVID-19 cases as among the factors behind his decision. Between March 20 and 23 coronavirus cases in Wisconsin  more than doubled, going from 206 to 416 infected persons. At this rate, he noted, the number of cases could quickly overload the state’s health care system.

For the full text of the emergency order go here.

Door County YMCA programs to close during pandemic
March 17 2020

In a statement today, Door County YMCA chief executive officer Tom Beerntsen  announced both the Sturgeon Bay and Fish Creek program centers would be closing effective Wednesday March 18 and remained closed until schools are approved for reopening in the respective school districts.

In the meantime, the YMCA will be offering virtual fitness programs which can be accessed free of charge (see below). In addition the Y’s two child care centers will provide child care programs for children of health care workers, government employees and YMCA staff. Beginning Monday March 23 the Barker Center will offer a program for infants through 4K, while the Lansing Center will offer a camp program for K through fifth grade.

YMCA Virtual Fitness Classes

Les Mills has offered over 95 options for virtual classes to YMCA members until further notice. These classes include anything from HIIT Cardio to Mindfulness classes. Workouts can be found at

Y360 has a variety of YMCA classes that have been created by instructors across the nation. These classes are now available to the Y community at home. Workouts can be found at

Mossa Move
Mossa is a movement based workout facility that has opened all online classes and programs for a 60-day free trial* so people can stay home and remain strong. The goal of the classes is to move and create strength. Workouts can be foud at     *You must create an account and provide credit card information. The first 60 days are free, after that you will be charged if you do not cancel

Tax filing deadline extended 90 days

(CNBC, March 17)  Taxpayers will get a three-month reprieve to pay the income taxes they owe for 2019, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Tuesday at a press conference.

As part of its coronavirus response, the federal government will give filers 90 days to pay income taxes due on up to $1 million in tax owed, Mnuchin said in Washington. The reprieve on that amount would cover many pass-through entities and small businesses, he said.

Corporate filers would get the same length of time to pay amounts due on up to $10 million in taxes owed, Mnuchin said. During that three-month deferral period, taxpayers won’t be subject to interest and penalties, he said.

You should still get your 2019 income tax return in to the federal government as soon as possible, especially if you’re due a refund and need cash.

“We encourage those Americans who can file their taxes to continue to file their taxes on April 15,” Mnuchin said. “Because for many Americans, you will get tax refunds.”

Indeed, the IRS processed more than 65 million income tax returns as of March 6. Of these, 52.7 million filers received tax refunds, averaging $3,012, according to the IRS.

While the federal government is granting taxpayers a little more time, you should still check in on your state’s position. Some states have rolled out delays due to coronavirus. (Ed.:  Wisconsin is not among them yet)

Door County board issues emergency declaration

(Green Bay Press Gazette, March 16)
STURGEON BAY – Door County leaders determined COVID-19 to be a public health emergency due to the risk to residents and the county’s function. 

     The emergency declaration said the pandemic — if it reaches the area, as no cases have been detected in Door County yet — could impair transportation, food or fuel supplies, medical care, fire, health or police protection and other vital services and establishments. 

Another key concern is the impact the virus could have on the summer’s tourist season. At a recent Egg Harbor village plan commission meeting, several people remarked “we don’t know if we’ll even have a tourist season.”

The summer brings in thousands of tourists to the area, and millions of the dollars to the county’s economy, but people fear the pandemic will still be in full force as the weather warms, prohibiting visitors.

Declaring the state of emergency means the county will make it a priority to provide necessary resources to combat the pandemic. Both the U.S. and Wisconsin declared a public health emergency last week. 

Door County also implemented two temporary administrative orders. One grants employees impacted by COVID-19 additional paid time-off days. Parents of children attending any of the county schools — all of which are closed until April 6 under state orders — could take extra days off for this reason. 

The other, the Employee Travel Administrative Order, restricts local government employees from traveling out-of-state. The county advised employees to cancel out-of-state trips. Employees returning from traveling must self-quarantine and stay away from their work site for 14 days.

If people travel out-of state before midnight on Wednesday, they can use extra work leave hours granted under the original ordinance in order to isolate. But if they travel after they date, they cannot use additional work leave hours but can work remotely if an employer grants permission. 

Public safety employees are not covered by the travel order. The order urged meetings and other events be held virtually whenever possible to practice social distancing. Both are subject to change and will be lifted as the pandemic improves.

The County Board will hold an emergency meeting at 10 a.m. on Tuesday March 17, at which time county leaders will provide more updates, according to County Administrator Ken Pabich.