With great joy, we are happy to announce that we will enter a new Bridge Phase in church on the Feast of Pentecost, Saturday, May 22nd at 4 P.M. Mass and Sunday, May 23rd at 9 A.M. Mass. We have received revised safety directives from Bishop Hicks, which coincide with the transition to Governor Pritzker’s Bridge Phase in the State of Illinois and we will begin implementing these current ones beginning Pentecost Weekend until we receive further instruction* from the Diocese.
*Subject to change at any time based upon the State of Illinois recommendations and the Bishop’s directives. As of today, Friday, May 14th, the mask mandate remains in place based upon the directives of the Bishop. As soon as this changes we will let you know.
At this time, a dispensation from the requirement to attend Mass is still in place.
CHANGES and REVISIONS included in the Diocesan Revised Directives and the St. James New Bridge Phase are as follows:
- Increased capacity for seating in the church
- Six-foot minimum distancing is no longer required but at least arms-length distance is Maintenance of seating area within the church which will retain six-foot social distancing for those who prefer this arrangement (these will be available through a separate sign-up each week).recommended between households.
- Parishioners will seat themselves (please be mindful of retaining the longer pews for use by large families)
- Both sets of exterior doors will be unlocked and parking for Mass is in both lots.
- Check-in will be expanded to just inside both sets of exterior doors
- Pastor and Deacon may now process in from the back of the church down the center aisle.
- The traffic pattern for going to communion will be changed so that parishioners will receive communion near their section as the Minister will come to each aisle, instead of everyone going to the front of the church.
- We will have an additional Minister of Communion to assist Father at each Mass
- Every Sunday at 9 A.M., we will offer the option for parishioners to listen to Mass on the radio in their cars in the main parking lot and come to the narthex of the church for communion. A Minister of Communion will be stationed just inside the doors of the church in the narthex at this Mass.
- The tabernacle will be returned to the Eucharistic Chapel.
- Beginning the weekend of July 3rd and 4th, we will expand our Weekend Mass Schedule to resume 11 A.M. Mass
- Beginning on July 8th, we will expand our Weekly Mass Schedule to include Thursday at 8 A.M.
PROTOCOLS that REMAIN UNCHANGED from the Diocese and Parish include:
- Pre-registration is still required for Masses and Sacramental Celebrations to maintain capacity restrictions via Flocknote or phone-in to the Ministry Center.
- We will still reserve several seats for those with special needs who prefer to sit in the handicapped section, available via phone-in to the Ministry Center.
- Masks are still required to be worn over the mouth and nose while inside the building*.
- If people do not feel well, they SHOULD NOT ATTEND services or gatherings.
- The doors to the church are opened 20 minutes before Mass and will be locked once Mass begins
- Water fonts are still to be left empty.
- As before, no physical sign of peace will be offered.
- As before, no presentation of gifts.
- As before, no passing of the collection baskets (they will remain at the back of the church).
- As before, singing is not allowed.
- Ministers of Communion are still required to wear a mask and a face shield when distributing Communion.
- Hands must be sanitized before receiving Communion.
- As before, the precious blood will not be distributed at Communion
- Communicants should move away from the Minister before taking down their mask to consume the host.
- We will continue to offer the weekly Live-Stream available at our YouTube Channel or via the link on our parish website, stjamesge.org
We understand that these changes may be readily embraced by some and very difficult for others. Likewise, it is normal to feel a mix of emotions when hearing this news. With the dispensation from the requirement to attend Mass remaining in place, we know you will pray and discern the best option for your particular circumstances.
Be assured of our prayers for every one of you as together we remain the faith community of St. James the Apostle Parish, whether or not we are physically present in the church or continue our worship from home at this time. As always, we thank you for your ongoing patience and support now and throughout this past year.
Fr. David Hankus and the Reopening Leadership Team of St. James
*As of today, Friday, May 14th, the mask mandate remains in place based upon the directives of the Bishop. As soon as this changes we will let you know.