EVELETH —The community is invited to attend a fundraising, family-fun, BBQ-style lunch at Margie’s Roosevelt on Sunday, beginning at 12:30 p.m., following 11:15 a.m. mass at Resurrection Catholic Church in Eveleth.
“We want to raise money for the church,” said Margie Koivunen, owner of Margie’s Roosevelt, on Wednesday. “Everyone has suffered financial hardships due to COVID-19.” Not only have donations to the parishes dropped in recent months but more people are turning to the church for help.
The fundraising event will take place on the patio area of Margie’s Roosevelt. It is open to children and the general public and COVID policies will be in place including face mask use, social distancing and sanitization.
To encourage attendance at this event, Fr. Michael Garry has moved the Sunday morning, Eveleth mass time from 10 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. “After we celebrate, we will gather down at Margie’s,” Garry said Wednesday. “This is an opportunity to come together as a community before summer comes to a close.”
Money raised at the Sunday event will 100 percent go to the parishes of Resurrection and St. Joseph and donors can earmark a specific parish.
“We thought this would be a nice activity for the community to raise money for the church, which supports our community in so many ways,” said Koivunen. “This is an event to try to get some normalcy back in our lives while raising money for a place that really needs it.”
Koivunen encourages positivity by saying, “We are going to get through this to the other end!”
The BBQ-style lunch, donated by Margie’s Roosevelt, will be offered for a freewill donation. Donations can also be made electronically at the parish website, or by dropping at the office.
Church attendance and donations have decreased since March, due to the coronavirus. For a while, church doors were shut and are open now at only a limited capacity.
Garry explained that the churches are allowed to operate at up to 50 percent capacity, if social distancing can be maintained. At most, this means a maximum of 185 people can gather at Resurrection in Eveleth and a maximum of 160 people at St. Joseph in Gilbert. Garry said they have not had capacity issues but if someone is concerned about health safety while maintaining their sacramental life, they should consider coming to daily mass.
Since the original shutting of the church doors during this pandemic, the Diocese of Duluth have provided Catholics a dispensation of obligation to attend mass. In normal times, Catholics have a holy obligation to attend weekly mass but this has been put on hold during the pandemic.
But even with limited capacities, Garry is encouraging parishioners to turn to God.
“We want to continue to carry on the mission of the church, now during COVID more than ever,” said Garry. “In this chaotic world, we need the stability and reassurance of Christ and the gospel to remind us of the good news of salvation. The battle has already been won by Christ.”
Along with offering daily and weekend mass, the parishes offer live streamed and recorded mass through their website and Youtube. There are also several uploaded videos on various discussion topics.
With this sudden reliance on technology, purchases were required including recording equipment, updating the microphone and sound systems and updating the building’s internet connectivity. “Last to be done is to get a new speaker,” said Garry explaining that will cost about $10,000.
Plus, there are other projects the parishes are doing including the expanding of homebound ministry. “Those who are homebound are part of our parish but we want to integrate them more into our parish community.” He explained that providing this service will cost more.
Funds raised at the Sunday event, will be used for these and other parish expenses.
The parishes’ Youtube account is named Resurrection St. Joseph. Their website is www.rsjcatholic.org. Mass times are: Tuesday and Wednesday at 8 a.m. in Eveleth, Thursday and Friday at 8 a.m. in Gilbert, Saturday at 4 p.m. in Eveleth, Sunday at 8:30 a.m. in Gilbert and 10:30 a.m. in Eveleth.