By Lindsay Steele
The Catholic Messenger
CLINTON — Since members of Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace Parish couldn’t come to church for Easter, pastor Father Ken Kuntz and Deacon Jeff Schuetzle came to them.
“We thought it might be a good idea to go to the peripheries, as Bishop (Thomas) Zinkula asks us to do,” Deacon Schuetzle said. “Right now, our people are on the peripheries” due to church closures in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Easter Sunday, the priest and deacon visited 67 households in the Clinton area to offer a blessing. In following social distancing guidelines, Father Kuntz and Deacon Schuetzle stood outside the homes while the families stood at a safe distance away, near the front door, or listened from inside with a window cracked open.
Earlier in the week, the parish reached out to parishioners through an email blast, the parish website and the parish bulletin, asking households to contact the parish if they wished to have an Easter visit. Deacon Schuetzle said he and Father Kuntz were shocked by the number of people who signed up. “It took us six hours, but we got ‘er done,” Deacon Schuetzle said.
At each stop, the clergy offered the following blessing: “We praise you Lord for the new life you bestow upon us as we celebrate your resurrection. Send your blessing upon (name) so they may receive the gift of your peace. Watch over them and protect them. Keep them in your loving care. May they place trust in you who live and reign forever and ever.”
The weather cooperated for most of visits; rain fell on the priest and deacon during the final four stops “but it was well worth it,” Deacon Schuetzle admitted. The faithful seemed “overjoyed to know that Father Ken would take the time to see all of them on an Easter Sunday. The smiles were just unbelievable. People are thirsting for community and this is one of the ways we can bring community to them.”