Rally to reopen churches held outside St. Joseph the Workman Cathedral

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT)– A rally and public Rosary was held outside the St. Joseph the Workman Cathedral on Main Street in La Crosse. More than 100 people took part in the protest Sunday.

Those involved claim Bishop William Patrick Callahan is setting additional restriction, which they say surpass Governor Tony Evers’ executive orders. They say Bishop Callahan told priests that mass should not be celebrated in church parking lots.

The diocese said a letter from the bishop in mid-March canceled all public masses.

The protestors want a full re-opening of the Holy Mass in the Diocese and the Country. They said church closures take away their constitutional right to religious freedom.

One protester said they are hurt by these restrictions.

“The Mass is the life-blood, the spiritual life-blood of a catholic. And for it to be cut off like this is just about the worst thing that can happen to us,” said Thomas Falter, who attended the rally.

In response, the diocese said their concern is for the safety of all the faithful in this time of uncertainty as positive test results means the virus is still being spread. The leadership of the Church, however, is not indifferent to the needs and desires of our people in this situation. Both priests and people are eager to return to normal operations and a full ministry of Mass and sacraments.

“It is our hope that careful observance of the Safer at Home guidelines will allow the Badger Bounce Back plan to take effect, including allowing for public gatherings in a phased manner. In the meantime, we are evaluating what steps will need to be taken for a safe and orderly reopening, once this time of danger has passed,” the Diocese of La Crosse said, in a statement.