Diocesan Gathering Guidelines Change with State Changes
January 28, 2021
DIOCESAN—With some reduction in the rate of spread of COVID-19 throughout Illinois, gathering restrictions are loosening.
On Jan. 19, Bishop David Malloy sent letters to the priests of the diocese outlining the newest diocesan adaptations to the ongoing pandemic.
The 11-county Rockford Diocese, home to three of the state’s 10 largest cities, falls into three of the state’s 
COVID-19 regions. 
Nine of the counties and the city of Rockford are in Region 1. They are Boone, Carroll, DeKalb, Jo Daviess, Lee, Stephenson, Whiteside and Winnebago. Region 1 has re-entered Tier 1 in the state’s reopening plan.
Kane County and the cities of Aurora and Elgin are in the state’s Region 8. McHenry County is in Region 9. Both regions are in Tier 2.
Because of this, the diocesan guidelines vary slightly because of these divisions.
The changes do not apply to sacramental gatherings, which continue to be guided by the diocesan document, “Back in His Presence.” 
Sacramental gatherings include Masses, baptisms, weddings, funerals, first Communions, confirmations,  confessions,  stations of the cross, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, communal prayer services, the rosary,   Divine Mercy Chaplet, and similar functions in the  church.
As of Jan. 19, the changes are expected to extend through Ash Wednesday and Holy Week services, and the annual Be Reconciled Day, scheduled for March 24.
In all the areas of the diocese, sacramental gatherings may fill spaces up to 30% capacity as long as all other distancing, disinfecting and other health measures are followed.
The Mass dispensation for those with health problems or other risk factors remains 
in effect.
Non-sacramental gatherings in Region 1 may include at most 25 people or 25% of room capacity. In Kane and McHenry counties, the maximum gathering remains at 10 people.
Parishes may opt to allow other groups such as Knights of Columbus or scouting groups to meet on their premises using the same attendance caps as for other non-sacramental gatherings.
All parishes must continue to have visitations and wakes at funeral homes rather than in churches.
Religious education programs are considered non-sacramental gatherings and must follow the guidelines for such meetings.
Elementary and high schools will continue to follow the guidelines set by the diocesan Office of Education.
Parishes in Kane and McHenry counties should still encourage employees who can to work remotely.
In the rest of the diocese, the remote work recommendation has been removed.
Also in Region 1, with the pastor’s approval, food and beverages may be allowed at gatherings, and some charitable events may be held with restrictions.
Complete details are available at www.rockforddiocese.org.


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