Father Aric Aamodt, St. Hubert, Chanhassen, MN
Submitted by: Cheri Quast
When our church closed due to quarantine, Fr. Aamodt found different ways to reach out to us during that difficult time. He figured out how to livestream Masses from the rectory’s chapel on Facebook. He was able to get drive-in confession setup so that we could go to confession. He setup Zoom meetings bringing the youth group and the adult leaders together after youth events were cancelled. He used a retaining wall as an elevated platform so that we could attend Adoration which then lead to drive-in Mass and the celebration of Divine Mercy Sunday. He made several Facebook and YouTube videos to connect with us during this difficult time. When our Archbishop made communion possible in Easter, he helped with all the logistics associated with that. Finally, he made visits to some of the parishioners’ homes with the Blessed Sacrament which so many of us appreciated.
During quarantine, I was struggling very much with despair. It was overwhelming and many times put me in a bad place mentally. He is my confessor and there were so many times in confession during this time that I heard the voice of Christ through him. In those dark moments, it was the light I needed and it has meant so much to me to know Christ was there and I was not alone. The penances that he would give me would put things into perspective, as well. When Mass returned, I was so happy to just sit in a car and to attend in-person instead of online even if I could not receive the Eucharist at that time. He helped make Mass happen on that retaining wall and I am so grateful for that. I cannot speak for the rest of the parishioners but for me, his help meant the world to me during a time when so much was left uncertain and I did not know what to do.
I believe that Fr. Aamodt deserves this award because he did not leave his flock throughout COVID. He was out there finding ways to virtually reach out to his flock and then expanded it to in-person when he figured how to do it safely. He is the Associate Pastor at our parish and could have waited for the pastor to take the lead but he chose to dive in and figure out how to serve our parish community. Our pastor did a lot of things as well but Fr. Aamodt was the face that greeted us in each thing. He was the person who climbed the retaining wall for the first time to do outdoor adoration which was eventually became the place where Mass would be celebrated. One of things that I will appreciate the most was when he continued to celebrate outdoor Mass in the middle of winter while it was sleeting just so we could attend Mass on a Sunday. His service during this time was not for him but for us, St. Hubert parishioners. I am so grateful that God put him in our parish to help us during this difficult time.
Thank you for this opportunity to share my priest's contribution during this time.