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30 family members contract virus

LAKE PARK (AP) — Thirty grieving members of a family in a small northwestern Minnesota town have contracted the coronavirus after attending a funeral for a loved one.

The family of 78-year-old Francis Perreault gathered at the Catholic church in the Becker County community of Lake Park in mid-July to celebrate his life.

Yet despite wearing masks and taking precautions 30 people contracted COVID-19, including five who were hospitalized, the Star Tribune reported.

“We tried to do everything right, but of course when you’re grieving, you let your guard down,” said Stephanie Schindler, Perreault’s daughter. “One of my friends that got sick was wearing a mask the whole time. But of course when you’re crying, you’re going to be rubbing your face.”

Schindler said several of those hospitalized have since been released. She said the positive tests have brought home the reality that COVID-19 is a threat even in places that aren’t so densely populated.

“I think in a rural area, you have to be aware that if you have people coming from out of state or even interstate — places different from your own home — you are going to share that space and the germs are gonna fly,” she said. “I just have to caution people about — please be careful. Even in this rural area, there is still COVID.”

Bishop of New Ulm diocese resigns

NEW ULM (AP) — Bishop John LeVoir is resigning from the Diocese of New Ulm, citing health reasons.

The 74-year-old bishop has led the Catholic diocese since 2008. The diocese says LeVoir has been undergoing physical and psychological assessments at Sacred Heart Mercy Health Care Center in Alma, Michigan, since early July.

Earlier this year, the diocese ended more than five years of litigation when it reached a $34 million settlement with victims of sexual abuse.

About 93 sex abuse claims were filed against the diocese after passage of the Minnesota Child Victims Act in 2013. The diocese filed for bankruptcy in 2017 in response to the claims.

“Although these last years have been very challenging for the diocese and the life of the church, it has been a privilege to have served the faithful of the Diocese of New Ulm,” LeVoir said in a statement.

LeVoir was working as pastor at the Church of St. Michael and the Church of St. Mary in Stillwater when Pope Benedict XVI appointed him bishop of New Ulm in 2008.

The New Ulm Diocese includes 15 counties in south and west-central Minnesota and serves about 50,000 Catholics in 61 parishes.

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