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Pisek, N.D., priest continues to spread the gospel during pandemic

Pisek church Father Lefor.jpg
Father Jason Lefor is shown recording a daily prayer from St. John Nepomucene Catholic Church in Pisek, N.D. (Submitted photo)

PISEK, N.D . — The coronavirus pandemic has not deterred the Rev. Jason Lefor from delivering the Word to his parishioners.

The pastor of St. John Nepomucene Catholic Church in Pisek, N.D., has recorded daily morning and evening prayers that are posted on the church’s Facebook page and website. Meanwhile, Lefor has live-streamed Mass on Facebook and YouTube on Saturday nights and Sundays.

St. John Nepomucene Catholic Church and Lefor’s other two parishes, Sts. Peter and Paul in Bechyne, N.D., and St. Joseph in Lankin, N.D., like thousands of churches across the United States, were closed a few weeks ago in an attempt to stop the spread of coronavirus.

But the closing of Lefor’s churches isn’t stopping him from spreading the gospel. As the gospel of John chapter 1, verse 14, says: “And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us," Lefor noted.

“The primary way that God communicates to us is through the Word,” Lefor said. Besides bringing God to the people in his parish, the recordings and live-streams are a way Lefor can be with them during the coronavirus pandemic, he said.


“It gives them an opportunity to have some sort of comfort during this seasonal exile,” Lefor said. “It feels like there is a grace from the Lord to do it for the people.”

Lefor — who occasionally hosts shows on Real Presence Radio, a Catholic radio station based in Fargo — enjoys recording the morning and evening prayers. Lefor’s parishioners apparently feel the same.

“The response I’ve gotten is incredible,” Lefor said. “I have a family, and every evening before they eat, they gather together and pray the evening prayer.”

Meanwhile, a group of people who previous to the pandemic would come to the church to pray each morning still can pray with Lefor via the airwaves.

While recording the audio prayers comes naturally for Lefor, the live-stream Masses are a different story.

“I am not a techie. I was the last person on earth to get a cell phone, and the last person on the face of the earth to get a smartphone,” Lefor jokingly exaggerated, noting the only reason he acquiesced and finally bought them was so his parishioners could reach him in times of need.

Meanwhile, a former parishioner set up the churches’ Facebook page, Lefor said. He doesn’t have a Facebook personal account, so the parishioner manages the page and the church website.

Another former parishioner purchased a microphone and laptop computer camera, which Lefor uses to film the Mass.


“First it was on a rickety table. I’m really advanced because now it’s a stepladder,” he said with a laugh. “I even got a couple of shop lights that I attach to the stepladder.”

Through trial and error, Lefor also learned that it works best to film just him in front of the altar, not the entire sanctuary. Live streaming is stressful because there’s no do-over for errors, he said. However, he believes it’s important to continue to celebrate Mass for his parishioners so he does it, despite his discomfort.

On Palm Sunday, April 5, Lefor will have Mass available for viewing on the church's Facebook page and web site. He will distribute palms to his parishes that day, where they will be available for parishioners to pick up and take to their homes.

“I truly believe that if people communicate the liturgy, it will change their hearts,” Lefor said. With the help of technology, he still can do that.

“Instead of focusing on what we don’t have, let’s focus on what we have,” he said.

The church website is plbtriparish.org.

Father Jason Lefor films the Palm Sunday Mass for the St. John Nepomucene website and Facebook page. (Photo courtesy of Sue Vacek)

Ann is a journalism veteran with nearly 40 years of reporting and editing experiences on a variety of topics including agriculture and business. Story ideas or questions can be sent to Ann by email at: abailey@agweek.com or phone at: 218-779-8093.
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