An important message from Bishop John Folda to the Catholic Faithful of the Diocese of Fargo

The current COVID-19 health crisis has led to extraordinary measures being taken throughout the world. As Catholics, we have a serious responsibility, not only in charity, but in justice, to prevent the spread of this disease to those who are most vulnerable.

As a result, I have made the difficult decision to cancel public celebrations of the Mass, sacraments, and parish events during this challenging time.

The Sacraments of the Church were instituted by Christ for the sanctification of God’s people. As a result, any restriction of their public celebration is a very serious matter. Nevertheless, we have the responsibility to protect the well-being of our brothers and sisters, and I judge these measures to be prudent and necessary. As our Lord taught, there is no commandment greater than to love God, and to love our neighbor as our self (cf. Mk 12:30-31).

Therefore, effective Noon, Wednesday, March 18, the following directives are to be observed throughout the Diocese of Fargo until further notice:
  • All public Masses are cancelled and the faithful within the territory of the Diocese of Fargo are dispensed from the obligation to attend Mass for Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation. The faithful are reminded that they are to observe other means of keeping the Lord’s Day holy.
  • Funeral rites may only be celebrated with 10 or fewer people. If it is pastorally beneficial, the Rite of Committal may be celebrated at the graveside, and a public funeral, with or without Mass, may be arranged at a later date. All other public funeral events are deferred.
  • Weddings may only be celebrated with 10 or fewer people.
  • The Baptism of infants is to be conferred only in the presence of 10 or fewer people.
  • Confirmation/First Eucharist Masses are deferred.
  • RCIA classes and sacramental initiation of adults are deferred. Exceptional cases may be referred to the Bishop’s Liturgy Office.
  • Individual Confession may be arranged with a local priest, while making appropriate arrangements that allow for both social distancing and confidentiality.
  • Priests will continue to provide the sacraments on an individual basis, particularly in danger of death. Every effort will be made to provide Anointing of the Sick and Viaticum to those who need it. When needed, please contact your parish priest.
  • All parish religious education classes are cancelled. Parents, as the primary educators of their children, have the opportunity and duty to take an active role in their children’s religious education. The curriculum for youth religious education may be fulfilled by parents and students through the “Alive in Christ At Home Program” available at www.fargodiocese.org/catechesis.
  • All communal parish events, including receptions and outside events held in parish facilities are cancelled.
  • Catholic schools are closed. Individual schools will make their own arrangements for on-line/in home instruction.
  • Insofar as possible, priests are to continue saying Mass “privately” each day.
  • Parishes that normally keep their churches open during the day are to retain this practice, if possible, so that individual members of the faithful may come for private prayer.

The faithful of our diocese have a great love for Christ and His Church. These prudent and necessary precautions are sure to be a hardship for us all. Each day I invite you to make an act of spiritual communion, pray the rosary, and engage in spiritual reading. This is especially important on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation.

As members of the Body of Christ, even though separated by physical distance, we remain united in prayer and in the grace that continues to flow through the celebration of the sacraments of the Church. Let us together ask God, through the intercession of Mary and all the saints, for healing and divine assistance in this hour of need.

Finally, I ask all the faithful to pray for those who are ill and all others affected by COVID-19. I also take this opportunity to offer my paternal blessing to those working tirelessly in healthcare, emergency management, and other essential services. May the Lord be with us and our families.

Sincerely in Christ,

†Most Rev. John T. Folda

Bishop of Fargo




Bishop Folda will celebrate the Sunday Masses and some of the daily Masses from St. Mary’s Cathedral in Fargo, and other local priests will also have the opportunity to celebrate the daily Masses .The Diocese is preparing to livestream private Masses from St. Mary’s Cathedral. Daily Mass at 7:00 am. Sunday Mass at 9:00 am
The Mass will stream live at the above time, but will remain available to watch later in the day as well To view Masses from the Diocese of Fargo, click here.


Masses are cancelled at St. John’s until further notice for the protection of our faithful. Mass intentions will be rescheduled when Masses resume.

lf you join St. John's School's Facebook page, you will be able to view St.. John's daily and Sunday Mass. Click Here to go to our Facebook Page so that you may join us and view Daily and Sunday's mass.

With daily and Sunday Masses being put on hold by the Fargo Diocese, visit our link on the left of this screen for 'Catholic Television' or click here to view Daily and/or Sunday Mass.

Happenings at St. John’s: All gatherings at St. John’s have been cancelled until further notice.

In the event of an emergency, please call Fr. Dale at 701-899-3278.

Adoration: None scheduled at this time.

Thank you to everyone who has been using our Online Giving. Parishioners who use the service are pleased with how easy it is to set up and manage. Please notice that our offering envelopes have a box which indicates “I’ve given online”, which you can use during offertory at Mass. Online Giving is very easy to use and requires no special knowledge. If you would like to sign up, please go to our parish website: www.stjohns-wahpeton.org and select Online Giving from the listing on the left. If you have any questions or need assistance, please contact the parish office at 642-6982.

Please pray for the ill and for those who have asked for prayers. Please pray for: Mark Fuller, Eric Paul, Bobbie Batesole, Shirley Mahrer, Gregory Herding, Diane Mauch, Keith Peschel, Darlyn Weber, Jerry Shannon, Neil LaBure, Sister Ann Marie Friederichs, Dale Mattson, Jonathan Perez, Dennis LaVoie, Terry Wieser, Casper Listopad, Wayne Jelinek, Patrick Sawyer, Jeff McKinnon, Mary Meyer, Leo Althoff, Jane West, Dan Humphrey, Mary Hill, Jordan Steffens, Jacob Petermann, Sammy Sturdevant, Fr. Katanga, Sr. Rose Celeste, Kristi Dreher, Jean Zimmel, Danielle Jenny, MaryAnn Althoff, Jim Karl family, Rhyland Kohlhase, Sabrina Metz, Nadine Steiner, Thor Uran, Charles Pogemiller, John Barrett, Adly Francesca Jaehning, Don Eichhorn, Helen Hanson, Adriana Adelman, Tim Vetter, Susan Johnson, Gary Abel, JoAnne Whicker, Denise Lahn, Arlo Safratowich, Rita Mauch, Kathy McKinnon, Julie Heying, Gregory Waite, Diane Shorma, Debbie Flanders, Cindy Packard, Sophia Geray, John Miesen, Ardel Kressin, Agnes Railing, Marilyn Basore, Mary Busta, James Parow, Dawson Wienbar, Shawn Wieser and Matthew Wieser. Praying for our sick is a Spiritual Work of Mercy for us all. Please notify our office if a name needs to be listed or removed.

If you are interested in buying SCRIP, please call ahead and we will make arrangements.

Searching for a new Youth Coordinator: St. John’s Catholic Church in Wahpeton is a vibrant parish of approximately 900 households. St. John’s is looking for a full time Youth Director coordinating parish youth formation leading the youth to encounter Christ. Qualified candidates must be practicing Catholics leading a sacramental life having effective communication skills and willingness to work collaboratively. Interested individuals may contact the Search Committee at: 701-642-6982. To apply please email a cover letter and resume to: dale.lagodinski@fargodiocese.org . Application deadline is Monday, April 20, 2020.

Why Catholic? Meet with Fr. Tony and discuss our faith. Upcoming topics: Catholic Understanding of the Second Coming, The Rapture and End Times, and Development of the Catholic Teaching of Suicide and Cremation. Date will be determined before the end of time.

Pro-life and Pro-Women go together. Abortion hurts women. If you are struggling with guilt, depression, regret, you are not alone. Project Rachel Ministries is a post-abortion healing ministry of the Diocese of Fargo. For confidential referrals to trained priests, counselors, retreats and support groups contact Project Rachel Ministries: 844-789-4829 or go to projectrachelfargo.org.

Department of Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the Diocese of Fargo (Kathy Loney) is looking for young adults, male and female, to help plan and present a gender specific retreat this summer. The retreat is for students ages 13 - 17. The theme has not been decided yet and young adults would be helping to decide and then design the retreat with talks to fit the theme.You would also choose and participate in indoor and outdoor games for this age. The paid position includes several meetings and the actual retreat and evaluation. For more information or to say ‘yes’ to this challenge, please contact Kathy Loney at 701-356-7902 or email her at Kathy.loney@fargodiocese.org for more information no later than Friday, March 20th.

Food Pantry Reminder: Can you bring food and/or monetary donations? Not only does our increasing number of clients need the resources but please remember March is the matching program. Our efforts to increase donations through April 12th is impactful.

SJS School News
• SJS Parents: As we navigate through these uncharted waters, we truly appreciate your support and commitment to the education of your children. We ask for your prayers and know that we are praying for you as well.
• Scrip will be available at the church office and electronically with eScrip.Please continue to support our school with this easy to use fund raiser. We very much appreciate your efforts!
• Please come and be a part of our school family! We invite all parishioners to prayerfully consider sending your child(ren) to St. John’s School, (4 year old Preschool through Sixth Grade). Registration for the 2020 - 2021 school year has begun and class sizes are limited. Your personal contact may be the invitation they are awaiting. Please encourage your friends and neighbors to check out our school. All faith denominations are welcome! If you have questions, please call 642-6116. Our doors are always open for a tour.

SJ Youth News
* Steubenville: Only 2 spots left. Scholarships Available. Contact Michelle to register. First come. First served.

The SEARCH weekend for April 17-19, 2020 has been cancelled. Again because of the Coronavirus Pandemic we will not be having this last weekend of SEARCH for this school year. Stay tuned for next school years SEARCH weekends.

Amazon Smile: St. John’s Church is now part of Amazon Smile. Amazon Smile is a simple and automatic method to support St. John’s Church every time you shop on Amazon.com. You only need to select St. John’s Church on your initial visit. You can log in to your Amazon account and select St. John’s Church to receive donations. Or enter https://smile.amazon.com/ch/45-0227392 and login to your Amazon account, St. John’s Church will automatically be selected to receive donations from eligible purchases on Amazon.com. After your selection, a percentage of all your purchases at Amazon.com will be donated to St. John’s Church. Please contact the parish office at 701-642-6982, if you have any questions.

Happenings at St. John's


And Around the Area...

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the REDEEMED Women’s Conference scheduled for March 27th - 28th has been canceled. Plans are currently underway to reschedule the conference for early 2021. The new dates will be communicated in the weeks to come

The Middle School Extravaganza (Rally) is cancelled.
This event for students in grades 6 - 8 was to happen on Saturday, April 18, 2020 in Wimbledon, ND. Because of the Coronavirus Pandemic, we will not be having this event this spring.

Food Donations for Food Shelf: Our opportunity to participate in the March Matching Program for the Richland Wilkin Food Pantry is here. This year the matching program will run through April 12th. Please remember that your donations can be either food products or monetary donations. The number of clients needing our food pantry continues to grow. You can either drop your donation in the basket as you checkout at Econofoods or mail to or drop off at Richland Wilkin Food Pantry, 699 8th Avenue South, Wahpeton, ND 58075. We hope you can join in the generosity

Pro-life and Pro-Women go together. Abortion hurts women. If you are struggling with guilt, depression, regret, you are not alone. Project Rachel Ministries is a post-abortion healing ministry of the Diocese of Fargo. For confidential referrals to trained priests, counselors, retreats and support groups contact Project Rachel Ministries: 844-789-4829 or go to projectrachelfargo.org

Catholic Charities Counselor: To schedule an appointment at St. John’s in Wahpeton with Jennifer Anderson, counselor with Catholic Charities, please call 1-800-450-4457.

VA Counselor: The Department of Veterans Affairs counselor will be on hand at the Richland County Courthouse every 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month. The Vet Center is completely free and confidential. For more information about Vet Center services or to schedule an appointment, call 701-237-0942, or visit www.vetcenter.va.gov.

Sacraments for the Homebound. Our priests will visit homes to celebrate sacraments of Reconciliation, Anointing of the Sick and Eucharist for anyone who requests. Please call the parish office 701-642-6982 if you know someone who would like to be visited.

Daily Mass cancellation or change: If you would like to sign up for an e-mail list that would let you know when daily Mass is cancelled or changed, please sign up at the hospitality desk or office . Funerals: To support our parish family in its grief, regular daily Mass, whenever possible will be transferred to the hour of the funeral.

Trouble Hearing at Mass? During Mass we have assisted hearing devices available for those individuals with hearing issues. We have had a positive response to the hearing devices. We have 4 receivers to be checked out for use at any Mass. If you have any questions with regards to the hearing devices, please contact the parish office. If you find this assisted listening device helpful and would like to purchase your own unit, please contact the parish office.

Need Transportation to Mass: The parish would like to offer transportation to mass for anyone who may need a ride . Please contact the parish office if you need a ride to mass.

Hospitalization and Your Pastor: Your pastors want to visit you when you or someone you love is hospitalized. Due to federal privacy laws, however, no one from the hospital automatically notifies us that you are there. In spite of everyone’s best intentions, it is also possible that we are not notified of your wishes even if you have signed a release or have given verbal permission. The surest way for us to be notified is for you personally or someone who loves you to notify us. Any Catholic in an acute medical state should be anointed with the Sacrament of the Sick by a priest as soon as possible. If someone is dying, a priest should be called for the Church’s Rites especially if death is near and before death occurs. If death has already occurred, a priest should still be called. (Office: 642-6982 Residene: 642-4985)