Fr. Steven M. Avella used internet resources and the archive of the Milwaukee Catholic Citizen newspaper to prepare this account, published in this week's issue of the Milwaukee Catholic Herald.
"On Oct. 10, 1918, State Health Officer Dr. Cornelius Harper ordered the closure of schools, taverns, public entertainments, and churches in Wisconsin. Factories, offices and workplaces were exempted."Perhaps taverns came to be regarded as "essential" after Prohibition and Repeal.
"Archbishop Sebastian G. Messmer sent a message to the priests of the archdiocese closing all churches and schools. 'There will no public services in our churches, Sundays or weekdays. The main doors of the church will be locked.' He forbade the ringing of church bells, except the Angelus. Funerals and marriages could be performed 'with a low Mass provided only near relatives of the party are present.' He also canceled Confirmations. All public and parochial schools were closed."My parish church has no bells, but it is open 8am to 1pm for private prayer. A neighboring parish has continued perpetual adoration.
"In churches, the sad strains of the 'Dies Irae' were heard frequently as priests, sisters, and beloved parish members met the end of their days."The most common Catholic experience of the Dies Irae in recent decades is probably the Amadeus soundtrack.
Restrictions were loosened somewhat in late November, tightened after a flare-up in infections, and removed January 4, 1919.