CHURCH OPENING UPDATE

 

Dear Sisters and Brothers,
 
Last week we received some information from the Archdiocese regarding the re-opening of parish churches.  This will not be done in a hasty fashion, rather a multi-phased Plan is to be followed.
 
I feel it is important to share some underlying guiding principles as outlined by the Diocese.  It is felt that everything possible should be done to provide people the solace of the church’s sacramental life in a timely and reasonable way.  However, we must remember that the current situation in Illinois remains dangerous and fragile. While much has been achieved, there remains the potential that the gains could be lost by a second more virulent wave.  A third principle is that trust needs to be established that the top priority in any Plan is the safety and wellbeing of people. Finally it is also felt that calling people to exercise faithful citizenship will be key. Each Catholic will need to take personal responsibility for the common good as well as their own safety.

To receive permission for the multi-phased plan, each parish needs to recruit non-vulnerable volunteers at the parish level to assist the pastor in implementing the Plan.  The selected volunteers are to complete training by way of a webinar. a A required certification of readiness to reopen will be required of each parish at each phase.
Each parish is to complete an implementation template confirming completion of all action steps and demonstrating that there are a sufficient number of trained volunteers to execute it.

Phase I allows for parishes to reopen for Baptism, Reconciliation, Weddings and Funerals with a limit of 10 attendees.  Phase IA allows for parishes to reopen for private prayer and adoration with a limit of 10 attendees. Given the training schedule noted above, it is anticipated that we could be opened by May 30 for Phase I and Phase IA.

Phase II allows for reopening for weekday and weekend Masses for larger groups depending on the guidelines from the state and the capacity of the church building.  There will be a review of the Plan at each stage with an eye to making adjustments in accord
with new data.

Very Important to Note: During Phase I, parishes will not be allowed to offer either daily or Sunday Mass, even with 10 or fewer attendees. The resumption of public Mass, regardless of the number of attendees, is a more complex process, which requires the input of lessons that will be learned from Phase I. To that end, parishes and archdiocese or diocese will collaborate to gather data to improve the protocols and processes of the Plan before we move to worship services in Phase II.

In order to get to Phase II, we will need everyone to follow the guidelines that are posted (which will include a limit of numbers, wearing of masks, etc.).
 
We will also need a good number of non-vulnerable volunteers to help us before/after Masses.   I would ask you to discern whether you may be willing to be part of this -- training will be provided.
 
Let us continue to practice responsible citizenship, by not gathering, by keeping a social distance, and by wearing a mask in public.  Let us also continue to pray for those affected by the Virus, and those who are at the forefront in the medical field, those who are first responders, and those who continue to make our daily lives as normal as possible.
 
God's Blessings,
Fr. Steve Dombrowski
 
P.S.  Just a reminder that we will record Sunday Mass for the upcoming 4 Weeks that close our Easter Season: Ascension, Pentecost, Corpus Christi, and Trinity.