letter from bishop pates, 05/14/20

easter basket blessings and other updates, 04/08/20

St. James Easter Food Basket Drive-Through Blessing Cancelled

Governor Pritzker along with his coronavirus task force conducted a conference call with religious leaders of the State of Illinois. The outcome carried some significant messages, including: Church parking lot activity of any sort is banned until the stay at home directive is lifted. Therefore, any Church parking lot activity that may have been scheduled such as confessions, blessing of Easter food baskets, etc. is now cancelled.

THEREFORE, Bishop Pates will offer an Easter Blessing of Baskets of Food and Easter Meals on Holy Saturday

After the 9:00 AM Prayer Service on Holy Saturday, Bishop Pates will bless the Easter baskets and foods in recognition of the time honored traditions of the Polish and Italians among others.

The link to that service will be available at the Diocese of Joliet YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/DioceseofJolietIL

To print one of the blessings, download the documents below:


A Dispensation from the Easter Obligation

With the state of Illinois under a “stay-at-home” order through the end of April, Bishop Richard Pates, our Apostolic Administrator has issued the attached decree dispensing the faithful in the dioceses from their Easter obligations due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The decree states that the obligation to receive Holy Communion during the Easter season is removed this year due to the impossibility of attendance by the People of God at celebration of Holy Mass.It also clarifies that the faithful initiated into the Most Holy Eucharist is encouraged to offer an Act of Spiritual Communion, in union with the entire People of God in the Diocese and throughout the world in this time of stress and difficulty.Finally, in accord with the Tradition and Teaching of the Church,  Catholic in the diocese are urged to offer a perfect Act of Contrition, in complete dependence upon the mercy and love of God, in sorrow for all sins and with a firm resolve to confess all serious sin at the next available time.

Closures Extended Until the End of April

In accordance with Governor Pritzker’s extension of the Stay-At-Home Directives until April 30, 2020, parishes will continue to be closed until we hear the order has been lifted.  Please visit your parish website for all updates stjamesge.org


Across the world, our people have raised questions regarding the forgiveness of sins. In order to address these inquiries and to bring peace to the victims of coronavirus and their caregivers, the Apostolic Penitentiary of the Vatican recently released two documents. They are:

  1. Note from the Apostolic Penitentiary on the Sacrament of Reconciliation in the current pandemic, 20-03-2020
  2. Decree of the Apostolic Penitentiary and the granting of special indulgences to the faithful in the current pandemic, 20-03-2020

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has produced an aide for the Church in the United States to assist in implementing the guidelines of the documentation from the Apostolic Penitentiary. This complete aide can be downloaded at the bottom of this communication. 

The essence as it applies to the faithful is as follows:
“…given public restrictions, the celebration of the sacrament of reconciliation with either individual or general absolution may not be possible. This will make some of the faithful anxious, especially during this Lenten season of penance.

To help in this, the Holy See, through the Apostolic Penitentiary, has offered two recourses for the faithful:
a) “Where the individual faithful find themselves in the painful impossibility of receiving sacramental absolution, it should be remembered that perfect contrition, coming from the love of God, beloved above all things, expressed by a sincere request for forgiveness (that which the penitent is at present able to express) and accompanied by votum confessionis, that is, by the firm resolution to have recourse, as soon as possible, to sacramental confession, obtains forgiveness of sins, even mortal ones (cf. CCC, no. 1452).”

Perfect contrition requires

• the love of God

• the sincere desire for forgiveness

• the ardent commitment to receive the sacrament of reconciliation when available

b) “The gift of special Indulgences is granted to the faithful suffering from COVID-19disease, commonly known as Coronavirus, as well as to health care workers, familymembers and all those who in any capacity, including through prayer, care for them.”

• this is a time of suffering, especially for those who have contracted COVID-19.As such, it may be a time for us to “rediscover ‘the same redemptive suffering ofChrist’ (Salvifici doloris, 30).” Trusting in Christ,

• a Plenary indulgence is “granted to the faithful suffering from Coronavirus, whoare subject to quarantine by order of the health authority in hospitals or in theirown homes if, with a spirit detached from any sin, they unite spiritually throughthe media to the celebration of Holy Mass, the recitation of the Holy Rosary, tothe pious practice of the Way of the Cross or other forms of devotion, or if at leastthey will recite the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer and a pious invocation to the BlessedVirgin Mary, offering this trial in a spirit of faith in God and charity towards theirbrothers and sisters, with the will to fulfill the usual conditions (sacramentalconfession, Eucharistic communion and prayer according to the Holy Father’sintentions), as soon as possible.”

• “Health care workers, family members and all those who, following the exampleof the Good Samaritan, exposing themselves to the risk of contagion, care for thesick of Coronavirus according to the words of the divine Redeemer: ‘Greater lovehas no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends’ (Jn 15: 13), willobtain the same gift of the Plenary Indulgence under the same conditions.”

o An indulgence is “the expression of the Church’s full confidence of beingheard by the Father when – in view of Christ’s merits and, by his gift, thoseof Our Lady and the saints – she asks him to mitigate or cancel the painfulaspect of punishment by fostering its medicinal aspect through otherchannels of grace” (John Paul II, General Audience, September 29, 1999).

o A plenary indulgence removes all the temporal punishment due to sin(CCC, 1471).”

Read the entire aide by clicking on the download below:

Letter from bishop pates: what shelter in place means for all the parishes in the diocese of joliet, 3/21/2020

Dear Priests, Deacons, Religious and all members of the Joliet Diocesan Community,

Governor Pritzker has issued an order mandating a “stay in place” for all citizens of the State of Illinois.

The order is effective at 5:00 PM on Saturday, March 21st and has the following implications for the parishes/schools and institutions in the Diocese of Joliet. These restrictions remain in place until April 7th or otherwise notified by the Governor.

·        All churches and adoration chapels must be closed and locked until the order is lifted by the governor. Private prayer in any parish building must be discontinued until the order is lifted.

·        There can be no live Stations of the Cross or any other gatherings anywhere on parish/school property, nor can any parish personnel be involved in organizing them on any other site.

·        All weddings and baptisms must be postponed and can be re-scheduled only once the order is lifted. There are no exceptions to this, regardless of the size of the group. However, in case of an extreme emergency for baptism, please seek the permission of your bishop.

·        Funerals and wakes must be postponed until the order is lifted.
(Note: Priests can – and are encouraged – to continue celebrating Mass privately and to livestream their Masses for their parishioners, if possible. Moreover, anointing of the sick and confession/absolution guidelines will be forthcoming.)

·        Parish offices must be closed until the governor’s order is lifted.

It is clear that the response to COVID-19 is fluid and we will keep you apprised of developments and provide additional information as it becomes available.

I am fully aware that these and previous measures are disconcerting and disrupting that which is central in our lives. It is painful for all of us. At the same time, we recognize them as essential in order to eliminate the scourge of the virus.

Let us join in prayer to the loving and caring God that He be with us in these trying moments and lead to the elimination of this virus. We pray also for those suffering from the virus and for those that lost loved ones to the illness and all those serving at this time, especially the health care workers.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Most Reverend Richard E. Pates

Apostolic Administrator, Diocese of Joliet

updated alert regarding covid-19 from bishop pates, 03/19/2020

Good afternoon,

Please read in entirety today’s letter from Bishop Pates in which he has canceled all Masses, Communion Services and Public times for Confession effective immediately through Easter and until further notice.

Be assured that we will continue to look for ways to support and connect with you during these difficult times in which we find ourselves. Stay connected to us on Flocknotes, Facebook (St James the Apostle Parish in Glen Ellyn Illinois), Twitter (St James Glen Ellyn) and our parish Website (stjamesge.org) for updates and resources as they are made available to us. You may also call us at the Ministry Center where our Parish Secretary Rubi will maintain limited hours each week day. Once we have decided on those, we will notify you. The rest of the staff is working from home and may be reached via email. You will find their contact information on our website or on the cover of a parish bulletin. Fr. David and the members of the Parish Staff want to assure you of our prayers for all of you, our beloved parishioners, who we feel privileged to serve, especially in these times.

As Fr. David had posted earlier this week, the church will be open this weekend for private prayer on Saturday from 1-5 p.m. and on Sunday from 8 a.m. -12 noon. However, there will not be a public celebration of confession. Instead, confessions may be done on an appointment only basis to guarantee the health and safety of our parishioners, as well as Fr. David. You may schedule this by contacting him at the Ministry Center, (630) 469-7540, ext. 203. If you come to pray at church this weekend, we ask you to please practice good hygiene and keep a six foot distance from others.

Finally, Pope Francis has invited all to join in a rosary today for the protection of families. He will be praying at 9 p.m. in Italy, which is at 3 p.m. today. We invite you to join together with our universal Church family sometime today in collective prayer.

May God bless you and keep you close to His heart.

Updated Statement and Liturgical Guidelines from Bishop Pates Regarding COVID-19

My dear Sisters and Brothers in the Joliet Diocese,

Thank you very much for your cooperation with actions that have been taken to minimize, to the degree possible, the spread of COVID – 19 (coronavirus).  Your health, as well as the health of the public at large, have been my deepest concern. It is important that all of us cooperate with public leadership to make our efforts as effective as possible in containing this pandemic. I fully realize and feel the painful loss along with you the cancellation of  Masses on weekends.  Because celebrating Mass is central to whom we are, I understand that its absence creates a palpable void.  

However, out of genuine concern for the welfare of everyone, I believe it is prudent to cancel weekend Masses for the time being. Certain liturgical gatherings, namely daily Mass, funerals, and weddings are permitted provided that:
1) The service may not have an attendance in excess of 50 persons. This number is the current directive of Governor Pritzker. Going forward, our point of reference regarding numbers will be those issued by the Governor of Illinois.
2) Every precaution be taken to prevent the spread of the virus.

The attached liturgical accommodations are being implemented and parishes are called to curtail or cancel other non-essential gatherings. These two directives will be ended when it is prudently advisable.I want to strongly encourage all of the faithful to continue our Lenten practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Need experienced by those served by the Church continues, even especially so, at this time of crisis. Please consider reaching out to your local parish about the possibility of providing financial support or personal assistance.Catholic Charities, which serves many of the poor and elderly in the Diocese of Joliet, has a special need for volunteers to serve those in vulnerable situations.  Please visit http://www.cc.doj.org for more information.

During this extraordinary time, our efforts throughout the community are to the benefit of all and are very much in accord with our identity as Christians.  Be assured your participation contributes significantly to the common good.

Once again, I am fully cognizant this is a time of severe uncertainty and fear. I promise my wholehearted prayer and support. Especially comforting is the realization that the Dear Lord accompanies us in our trials.

Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Richard E. Pates
Apostolic Administrator
Diocese of Joliet

Correspondence from bishop pates, 3/15/20

We have just received updated correspondence from Bishop Pates that all weekend Masses for March 14/15 are cancelled. For future weekends, we will consider whether additional action is necessary.

In addition, there will be no Stations of the Cross tonight, March 13th at 7 p.m. and confessions have been cancelled on Saturday, March 14th at 2:30 p.m.

The Mass intentions for each of our weekend Masses will be offered by Fr. David at three private Masses which he will offer without anyone in attendance.

For remaining liturgies (funerals, weddings, Confirmations and weekday Masses), there are temporary directives effective immediately. They include that the guidelines issued by the State of Illinois are observed, limiting participation to no more than 250 people. In addition they include: 

1) Dispensation from the obligation of Sunday Mass is effective immediately.
2 )The reception of Holy Communion should be by hand only…reception on tongue is temporarily suspended.
3) Reception of the Precious Blood is suspended.
4)The exchange of peace should be expressed verbally.
5)The Holy Water fonts should be emptied and not filled again.

Please click on this link for the full letter from Bishop Pates: http://dioceseofjoliet.org/communications/newsdetail.php?id=119

Let us continue to pray for one another as we seek to overcome this pandemic.

Update from Bishop Pates 2/28/20

The priests and deacons of the Diocese of Joliet received communications today from our Apostolic Administrator, Bishop Richard E. Pates, with instructions in response to the possibility of the spread of the coronavirus in the United States.

He would like parishes to err on the side of caution and asks that the following actions be implemented immediately:

We will suspend the shaking of hands or other physical contact at the sign of peace.

We will suspend the distribution of the Precious Blood to the faithful at Communion time.

These precautions will remain in force until such time as prudence dictates that our normal practices be resumed.

In addition, Bishop Pates reminds the faithful that if they are sick or are experiencing symptoms of sickness, they are not obliged to attend Mass, and even that, out of charity, they might not attend.

Finally, he has encouraged us to continue the practice we’ve long since implemented at St. James in which our Ministers of Communion wash their hands before Mass and use an alcohol based anti-bacterial solution before and after distributing communion.

Below is a copy of the bishop’s communications for your reference.

We will implement these actions immediately beginning with our next Masses, which are scheduled on Saturday, February 29 and Sunday, March 1.

Thank you!