June 8, 2021
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Second to announcing the coming Kingdom of God, I have some of the best news that I have been able to share to date. The time has come, Phase 5 has been announced, and will be adapted at Maternity BVM Church beginning at the 4:30 Mass on June 12. Phase 5 represents a full reopening of our Church and facilities, with a few precautions that will still be in place.
Capacity – Church will now be opened to full capacity, with the pews in the middle available without distancing. For those who would still like to maintain distancing, the side pews will still allow for that with every other pew being taped off. In the side sections, masks will continue to be required.
Masks/Face Coverings -- Masks are no longer required for those who are fully vaccinated. (Defined as two weeks after receiving the last required vaccination.) Those who are not vaccinated should continue to wear masks.
Reservations - Reservations are no longer required to attend Mass. All you have to do is come to Church!
Singing - Congregational singing will be allowed!
Dispensation -- The dispensation from the Bishop of Joliet is still in effect, so that parishioners may adjust to these changes. For those who are not ready to return to Mass, we will continue livestreaming the 4:30 via YouTube and posted on our parish Website. For those not ready to joint us, know that we would like to stay connected with you. Please contact the parish office, or even contact me personally, and know that we are thinking about you and praying for you.
Sanitizing Hands – Hand sanitizing will be optional, but hand sanitizer will be available in the back of church and near the middle front pews for those who want to sanitize coming in to church and before receiving communion.
- We will continue to form two lines in the middle aisle.
- At this time, offering the Chalice is prohibited due to health concerns. (When you receive the Body of Christ, you have received the fullness of the Eucharist)
- Communion on the hand is still preferred. We respect the right of the faithful to receive on the tongue, but the communion ministers must sanitize their hands after each communion on the tongue.
Reconciliation -- The Sacrament of Reconciliation will be offered from 3:30–4:00 pm on Saturdays. Please arrive no later than 4:00 pm. Reconciliation will take place in the room behind the Mary altar and not in the confessional at this time. Reservations are no longer needed for the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and it is also available by appointment.
Holy Water - At this time Diocesan Policy prohibits the use of Holy Water at the entrances of the Church. However, the holy water dispenser in the sacristy will be filled once more for those who would like Holy Water for their own personal use.
Bulletins/Missals – We will return to the practice of handing out bulletins. Also too, missals and hymnals will return to the pews soon.
Sanitizing the church – We are still required to maintain a sanitary environment and surfaces in the church will still be cleaned and sanitized on a regular basis.
This is good news indeed! I am truly excited to see the church fully alive once more! This is a moment worthy of celebration!
Again, mark your calendars for August 14 and 15. It is truly a special weekend, where we celebrate the feast of the Assumption of Mary on a Sunday, and we will celebrate our grand reopening in a very special way.
But this is also a moment of reflection. Covid 19 deprived us of something truly sacred. In fasting from the Eucharist and in limiting our interaction with one another, there truly was a void in our lives and in the life of the Church.
It is not my desire to return to life as it was before, but that we truly recognize our hunger for the Eucharist and appreciate Christ’s life freely given and poured out for us. And as our territorial parish includes the ‘Village of Friendship’, it is my hope that as a parish we will also grow closer to one another, and truly support one another as we carry out the mission of Jesus Christ and journey to our true home in heaven.
I look forward to seeing you at Church!
Adored and Loved be Jesus,
Fr. Jason Nesbit, C.S.V.