In a history of the parish, especially the years 1839 to 1926, Fr. Eugene Hagedorn, O.F.M. tells us on page 104 that on Oct 3, 1918 the schools were closed because of the flu. Doctors treated 500 cases in the parish, and about 100 people did not send for the doctor. Last sacraments were administered to 20 people, and 9 were buried.
On 17 Nov, the quarantine was lifted from the church, and on 3 Nov a Mass was offered outside with 300 people in attendance. On 25 Nov the schools were opened. In March of 1919 the flu broke out again more viciously than ever and killed 3 parishioners.
The Franciscans and the parishioners prayed to St. Roch for intercession and his help in dealing with this flu. A statue of St. Roch was placed next to the Pieta shrine in the northeast corner of our church.
I suggest that we pray to St. Roch again – each evening at 8 o’clock. We can drop what we are doing and pray together as a parish for St. Roch to help us. I call it “8 o’clock with St. Roch.” Prayer cards are inserted in the bulletins if you can stop to get one at the church doors or in the front office of the rectory. Prayer cards are also available at the entrances of the church (and front office). Prayer is powerful.
– Father Joe