Dear St. Mary’s Parishioner,
I pray that you and your loved ones are healthy. As you may have heard, our Apostolic Administrator, Bishop Richard Pates has worked with the Bishops throughout Illinois to present a plan to safely open our Parish facilities to the public as of the weekend of June 6/7. Our prayers have been answered to get back to active worship and in-person ministry in our Church building.
We have diligently worked the past several weeks to be ready for re-opening. We presented our plan to the Diocese and are in the process of training our volunteers. We are prioritizing the safety and well-being of all while maintaining due respect and reverence for the sacraments and the liturgical norms of our faith.
With that said, we are taking appropriate precautions consistent with the advice of public health authorities. Parishioners and guests should understand that they assume the risk of contracting COVID-19 anytime they enter a public space since such precautions do not eliminate the risk of infection. We encourage those of you who are part of the “vulnerable population” i.e., underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, lung disease, cancer treatment patients, those 60 and older, to consider the risks to yourself before you come back to the Church.
Masses in Church will take place every day of the week, beginning on June 6. We will use that day’s liturgy for the celebration, but any Mass during the week will fulfill your Sunday obligation. Dispensation from this obligation continues throughout this pandemic time for those unable to attend. The times are as follows:
Saturday 4:00 pm
Sunday 8:00 am, 10:00 am, 12:00 pm and 6:00 pm
Monday 6:00 pm
Tuesday 9:00 am and 12:00 pm
Wednesday 9:00 am and 6:00 pm
Thursday 9:00 am
Friday 9:00 am and 12:00 pm
We will still offer on-line recorded Masses and bulletins for those who are not able to join us.
Scheduling for Baptisms, Marriages, and Funerals will begin as of June 3 too. Procedures for the occasion will be discussed when the arrangements are made. Please call the Parish Office at 630-969-1063 to set a date.
We will be using a scheduling tool to “reserve” a Mass time for you and your family. We are limited at this time to 100 attendees at each service. We will be unable to accommodate walk in participants due to the social distancing that we will have to maintain in the Church. This link for access to the Mass schedules is: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/20F0B44AAA922A7FF2-mass1
Please sign up for only one Mass per week, as this will ensure that all who want to participate will be able to do so. Sign up for enough seats for all of your family members. If you are not able to access the Internet to sign up for Mass times, please call the Parish Office at 630-969-1063 and we will add your reservation to the Mass time of your choice.
On the day that you attend Mass, we ask that you enter the Church from the Parking Lot door only. Exiting the Church after Mass will be through the Prairie or Wilson exits only. We anticipate the first few weeks of Masses to take extra time for seating, so please plan to arrive early to enter the Church. We will have ushers to direct you to the appropriate socially distanced seating. We will be filling the Church front to back in each section, so you may not be able to sit in your “regular” pew. Those needing handicapped seating will be directed accordingly. We ask you to use hand sanitizer prior to coming to Mass for your own safety.
Exiting the Church after Mass will occur from the back of the Church to the front and, again, will be directed by our ushers. We ask that you exit the Church immediately after Mass so that we can have the pews cleaned in time for the next Mass. Bulletins as well as baskets for your offertory will be available at the exits.
I have included for your review a tri-fold flyer that will help you better understand the precautions we are taking to keep you and our staff safe. Please read this carefully. We will have similar postings at the entrance to the Church as a reminder for you. There will be hand sanitizer at the Parking Lot entrance for your use. You will only be permitted entry if you have your own mask.
While we are very excited to re-open for worship, this new process will require lots of volunteers daily. We need assistance as greeters/ushers during Mass as well as cleaning after Mass. Those of you who are NOT part of the “vulnerable population” are asked to consider how you might help. High school and college students would be a great help to us. If you are interested, please reach out to Pat Vena at:
Confessions will begin on Saturday June 13, from 8:30-10:30 am initially, and, after a few weeks we will go back to one hour, 8:30-9:30. We ask that you enter the Church through the parking lot door and be directed by an usher to one of two areas. You will enter the area, stand for your confession and leave the area, with your penance taking place once you get to your home, not in the Church. Please receive Reconciliation once during this time to allow others an opportunity to go in the initial weeks of our re-opening.
I know that this is a very different experience for all of us. You have all had some “practice” with social distancing at your grocery stores, hardware stores and doctors’ offices. Now is our time to get together and re-energize our Parish community with in-person worship. Our collective patience, willingness to help and the care we take to reopen is a demonstration of our unity and love for one another.
May God grant you His peace during this difficult time and may He manifest His love and presence to you in abundant ways. If you have any questions, please contact us at 630-969-1063.