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Baraga Days celebration going virtual this year

MARQUETTE — Venerable Bishop Frederic Baraga was known as the snowshoe priest for traveling across the snow to his flock throughout the Upper Great Lakes, even in the worst conditions. While the Baraga Association isn’t expecting a snowstorm to stop its annual Baraga Days celebration this weekend, the COVID-19 pandemic won’t stop it either.

Like its namesake, the Baraga Association is traveling to interact with its members and beyond — virtually. Slated for Saturday and Sunday, featuring talks by noted Baraga experts, entertainment and a 10:30 a.m. Sunday Mass live-streamed from St. Peter Cathedral in Marquette, Baraga Days will be online.

Lenora McKeen, executive director of the association, said plans for the popular event are still coming together and will mirror in-person events of the past. In the works is a walking tour of the cathedral and Baraga Chapel, Baraga Educational Center and grounds and more. The association is currently building an online library that will be accessible to everyone at any time.

Plans for this year’s Baraga Days include a performance by the Singing Slovenians from Minnesota, as well as the Teal Lake Drum Circle featuring drumming, singing, storytelling and teaching by Native Americans. McKeen said the idea is to “represent Bishop Baraga well.”

Rather than letting the current challenges be a setback, McKeen said the association is “trying to break out and use this situation to reach more people.”

She acknowledged that even though Baraga Days often travels throughout the Midwest, there are many people who would like to attend but are unable.

“We hope the virtual event is something we can continue to do even when we have an in-person event,” McKeen said in a news release.

Dioceses, as well as parishes, that have supported the Baraga Association in the past are being asked to help promote the online event, McKeen said. Parishes and groups able to project video and provide proper social distancing could even hold watch parties.

For more information, or to join this year’s Baraga Days “live,” visit www.bishopbaraga.org/baraga-days.

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