State’s Bridge Phase Means Some Changes for Catholics
Back in His Presence guidelines updated, sanitizing and distance important
May 20, 2021
DIOCESE—As the State of Illinois moves into the Bridge Phase of its COVID-19 mitigation recommendations, the Diocese of Rockford has updated its guidance for parishes, schools and related activities.
 
The changes were announced by Bishop David Malloy in a letter to priests on May 13.
 
Sacramental gatherings
 
Bridge Phase guidelines do not apply to sacramental gatherings,
 
Sacramental gatherings include all Masses, baptisms, weddings, funerals, first holy Communion, confirmations, confessions, Stations of the Cross, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, communal prayer
Key changes during
Illinois’ Bridge Phase
 
Sacremental gatherings
 
The maximum attendance at all indoor sacramental gatherings will be increased to 75% percent of capacity of space, maintaining as much physical distance as possible, and continuing to follow the other Back in His Presence rules of registration, wearing masks, hand sanitizing and cleaning and disinfecting.
 
Non-sacramental gatherings
 
These may resume on church premises with a maximum attendance of 60% of space capacity. Parishes must continue to adhere to the health department guide lines of the county in which the parish is located by wearing masks, frequently sanitizing hands, maintaining social distancing, and following cleaning and disinfecting guidelines.
 
Source: Back in His Presence guidelines
service in the church, and recitation of the rosary or novenas prayed in the church.
 
Since May 14, the maximum attendance at all indoor sacramental gatherings will be increased to 75% percent of capacity of space, maintaining as much physical distance as possible, and continuing to follow the other Back in His Presence rules of registration, wearing masks, hand sanitizing and cleaning and disinfecting.
 
Non-sacramental gatherings
 
In-person non-sacramental meetings, gatherings, and conferences on the premises, either indoor or outdoor, are permitted to have a maximum attendance of 1.000 persons or 60% of space capacity, whichever is less.
 
Continue to adhere to the health department guidelines of the county in which the parish is located by wearing masks, frequently sanitizing hands, maintaining social distancing, and following cleaning and disinfecting guidelines.
 
Non-sacramental meetings conferences, or conventions include Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults and adult formation classes, parent sacramental preparation meetings, finance council, parish council and committee meetings, office staff meetings, Bible study, mens group, and other group gatherings. 
 
This section addresses meet ings, conferences, and conventions held at a diocesan facility, parish or school, not those that are held outside the Rockford Diocese. 
 
Anyone with specific questions about this section, should contact the diocese for assistance.
 
Additionally, parishes in their discretion may permit non-parish group meetings and gatherings to resume on the premises, with a maximum attendance of 1,000 persons or 60% of space capacity, whichever is less.
 
Such groups include Knights of Columbus, Scout meetings and gatherings, AA, and other groups. 
 
Schools and religious education
 
Schools are to continue to follow the guidelines of the diocese’s Catholic Education office.
 
Specific rules for graduations and related activities have been distributed to the Catholic high schools of the Rockford Diocese, and from there to the families involved.
 
Religious education programs and classes for children and families are considered non-sacramental gatherings. 
 
Religious education programs and classes held in the parish’s school building which currently operates a parish school are to follow the guidelines of the diocese’s Catholic Education Office.
 
Religious education programs and classes held in the church building, the parish office, a school building that does not currently operate a school, or other building, may be held in-person with a maximum attendance of 60% of space capacity.  They must also continue to  adhere to the  health department guidelines  of the county in which the parish is located by wearing masks, frequently sanitizing hands, maintaining social distancing, and following cleaning and disinfecting guidelines.
 
Visitations and wakes
 
Funeral visitations and wakes are not sacramental gatherings. They may resume on church premises with a maximum attendance of 60% of space capacity. Parishes must continue to adhere to the health department guidelines of the county in which the parish is located by wearing masks, frequently sanitizing hands, maintaining social distancing, and following cleaning and disinfecting guidelines.
 
Persons wishing to attend the funeral visitation may wait outdoors for their turn, if necessary. The maximum attendance outdoors is 500 persons with social distancing.
 
Other activities
 
A variety of other events, such as activities at Bishop Lane Retreat Center and work attendance at parish offices, also have new rules during the Bridge Phase. 
 
Full details are available at the diocesan website or by calling the Diocesan Administration Center.
Info: 815/399-4300 or https://www.rockforddiocese.org/

 

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