Parish-Re-Opening

                                                                Church Guidelines 

 

  1. Main doors will be left open during Mass.
  2. All parishioners are to wear masks.
  3. Hand sanitizer will be available for everyone entering church.
  4. Ushers will help people to their seats and promote social distancing.
  5. Seats will have markings to show where people should sit.
  6. Everyone is to keep their masks in place while going to Communion. You will only be able to receive the host in your hand.
  7. After taking the host, step to the side and then move your mask with one hand to receive the host in your mouth.
  8. Ushers will direct parishioners at Communion on when to receive the host. We will start with the right side of the church and then alternate to the left side one row at a time.
  9. After Mass has ended parishioners will be dismissed by ushers from the back of the church first and then one row at a time dismissing from back to front one row at a time.
  10. Everyone is encouraged to sanitize their own area after use as much as possible.

 

Hello St. Mary – St. Joseph family,                                                        May 27, 2020

 

I pray that you and your loved ones are healthy. As you may have seen, Bishop Richard Pates, recently shared our multi-phased plan for reopening churches in the Diocese of Joliet. Specifically, the preliminary phases are:

 

  • Phase I allows for parishes to reopen for Baptism, Reconciliation, Weddings, and Funerals with a limit of TEN attendees.
  • Phase IA allows for parishes to reopen for private prayer and adoration with a limit of TEN attendees.
  • Phase II allows for reopening for weekday and weekend Masses for larger groups depending on the guidelines which will be issued by the State of Illinois at a later date, and the capacity of the church building.

Our St. Mary & St Joseph Reopening Plan

First and foremost, it is important for everyone to understand that our efforts will prioritize the safety and well-being of all while maintaining due respect and reverence for the sacraments and liturgical norms of our faith.

I have assembled a Parish Reopening Leadership Team with parishioner co-captains to lead our efforts. Together, we have participated in required training from the Diocese to ensure that our parish reopening plan conforms to the guidelines developed by the Diocese in collaboration with civil and healthcare authorities. We will also obtain protective and cleaning supplies, as well as guidance on purchasing/maintaining supplies ongoing.

Volunteers Needed

We will need volunteers to assist with various aspects of our parish reopening. Importantly, leadership team members and volunteers must not be part of a “vulnerable population” (no underlying medical condition such as diabetes, lung cancer, etc.) Those over the age of 60 should consult with the Parish Leadership Team about possibly serving as a volunteer. I ask all of you who are younger than 60 and healthy with no underlying health conditions to consider assisting with one of the three reopening teams. I especially encourage high school, college students as well as young adults to serve and volunteer for teams.

Our Team that has been established is as follows:

            Co-Leaders               Dan Schneider

                                                Joe Reinhart  (Business Manager)

            Greeter Captain      Sheila Pickens

            Cleaning Captain    Becky Wolken

            Set-up Captain        Kris Schuler

The responsibilities for the 3 teams are:

  • Set-up team. Sample duties include ensuring that all supplies needed for each sacramental celebration are ready for use, entrances and exits are marked and propped physically open prior to attendees’ arrival/departure. Windows opened if possible
  • Greeting team. Sample duties include assisting in managing the flow of congregants as they enter the church, making sure attendees use hand sanitizer upon entering, are wearing masks, and are reminded not to enter if ill; directing people to appropriate seating/waiting areas.
  • Cleaning team. Sample duties include maintaining and cleaning essential and trafficked areas of the church before and after the church has been used. Masks and gloves will be provided, if you do not have your own, in addition to approved cleaning/disinfecting supplies.

Timing for Our Reopening

As I mentioned, the Parish Reopening Leadership Team members and I have completed the required training. We are in the process of reviewing and completing tasks assigned to all parishes as part of a reopening certification process to be approved by the Diocese. The soonest that we will realistically open for sacramental celebrations, private prayer or Eucharistic Adoration is next week- the week of June 1st. We are hoping to have Adoration on Friday, June 5th starting at 9 AM. Adoration will be in 3 – twenty minute intervals. If you are interested in worshipping during one of these times, please sign up at the outside door of St. Mary church or call Dan at 217 781-2411. This is important so we can make sure there are no more than 10 worshippers at a time.

Following our certification for St. Mary – St. Joseph, we will only open our churches once the Leadership Team and I feel confident that we have the right volunteers in place to make it possible to reopen. Again, the need for parishioner assistance cannot be overstated.

Because we must limit the number of attendees to minimize the risk of the spread of the disease once we open the churches for Mass, we will use an online registration system so that we are within the guidelines set forth by the state. We will continue to Live-Stream Mass to make it as convenient as possible for everyone. Also, we are working on a system to give communion to those who can not attend Mass for any reason. We ask for your patience.

The guidelines and measures required to reopen are designed to protect our well-being and that of our broader community. It is good to note that we do this together as from the first pages of Scripture we learn that we indeed are “our brother’s keeper”. Our Lord Jesus Christ prayed, “that they may be one”. “ As I have loved you, so you also should love one another” (Jn 13:34). 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 me at the parish rectory 217 379-4033.

 

Sincerely yours in Christ,

 

Father Dong van Bui

Church Guidelines during the Pandemic

  1. Main doors will be left open during Mass.
  2. All parishioners are to wear masks.
  3. Hand sanitizer will be administered to everyone entering church.
  4. Ushers will help people to their seats and promote social distancing.
  5. Seats will have markings to show where people should sit. (Families and other parties that live together may be seated together.)
  6. No Mass guides such as Missals, song books, etc. are to be used.
  7. A collection basket will be placed at the entrance of church instead of collecting pew by pew.
  8. After Mass has ended, ushers will dismiss parishioners by pews. We will start from the back of the church and dismiss one row at a time ending with the front.
  9. Everyone is encouraged to sanitize their own area after use as much as possible.
  10. Parishioners are asked to maintain social distancing as they move to and from the church and throughout the church.

FOR COMMUNION:

  1. Ushers will direct parishioners at Communion on when to go up to the altar. We will form a single file line starting with the right side of the church and then alternating to the left side one row at a time.
  2. Everyone is to keep their masks in place while going to Communion. You will only be able to receive the host in your hand. For Communion, please fully extend your arms to receive the host in your hand.
  3. After taking the host, step to the side and then move your mask with one hand to receive the host in your mouth.
  4. Replace your mask and return to your seat using proper social distancing.

 

Please be reminded:

  • That the dispensation from the Sunday obligation remains in force indefinitely.
  • If you are fearful or have any reluctance to return to Sunday observance at this time, please do not come.
  • Those most susceptible to contracting COVID-19 by virtue of age, medical condition or other vulnerability should not attend the in-person Mass.
  • We will be limited to 25% capacity of the church, so please be patient as we try to rotate through the people who would like to attend in person.