Heavy weekend snow led some parishes in diocese to cancel Masses Jan. 12-13

A statue of Mary outside St. Vincent de Paul Church in Peoria shows the effects of the foot of snow that fell on the city and much of the Diocese of Peoria the weekend of Jan. 12-13. (The Catholic Post/Tom Dermody)

A weekend snowfall that measured more than a foot in some regions of the diocese caused the cancellation of many parish or school activities, including all Masses in Hancock County on Jan. 12-13.

“It snowed and snowed and just kept coming,” said Father Thomas Szydlik, parochial vicar of the five linked faith communities in Nauvoo, Dallas City, Carthage, Warsaw, and Hamilton.

Noting the distance between the Catholic churches of Hancock County is up to 23 miles, Father Szydlik said he and Father Anthony Trosley, pastor, made the decision on Saturday to activate the parishes’ call system and announce the cancellations.

“In such weather it’s foolish for us to be out and encourage others to be out,” said Father Szydlik. Knowing that many, including older Catholics, would valiantly attempt to get to Mass, the priests opted for prudence.

“We don’t want broken hips, or worse,” said Father Szydlik.

A request to share Mass-related snow stories on The Catholic Post’s Facebook page drew dozens of comments.

Father Joseph Dondanville, pastor of St. Mary Parish, Kickapoo, and St. Patrick, Elmwood, canceled the Saturday afternoon Mass in Elmwood because  “Route 8 would have been tough sledding for me, pun intended.” On Sunday, both parishes were open for Mass.

“We had a kind chauffeur with four-wheel drive that got us there and back,” said Father Dondanville.

Susan Rapp reported that, in Morton, small children attending the 9:30 a.m. Sunday Mass at Blessed Sacrament Parish are invited to leave during the Liturgy of the Word to hear the message at their level. When Msgr. Gerald Ward, pastor, noted the light attendance on Jan. 13, including only a few children, he quipped, “Well, Jesus only had 12!”

Snow was again in the forecast for the weekend of Jan. 18-20, though for more moderate amounts.

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