Coronavirus (COVID-19) Info & Resources

 

 

RESOURCES
 

NEWS & UPDATES
 

Update from Bishop Hick’s 3/24/2020 

Sacrament of Reconciliation

Given that our churches are closed and a stay-at-home order is in effect:

  • individual confessions are currently not possible; this includes virtual or phone confessions, which are never permissible, nor drive-thru confessions. Despite the good intentions around such novelty, we must attend to our underlying theological tradition of the sacrament, as well as support the stay-at-home order and its intended purpose – to keep people safe in their homes at this time.

  • in keeping with longstanding pastoral practice when penitents’ access to the sacrament is restricted, they can be assured that their sins are forgiven if they make an act of contrition with a firm resolve to approach the Sacrament of Reconciliation after the stay-at-home order is lifted.

  • the faithful should be encouraged to pray particular prayers or meditate on passages of the bible that you recommend to assist them in seeking the mercy and forgiveness of God and the grace of reconciliation.

  • the Holy See has made clear with a recent decree concerning the Sacrament of Reconciliation from the Apostolic Penitentiary that the conditions for general Absolution have not been met. The decree states that the primary place it would be permitted is in a hospital ward. However, our hospitals are not currently set up for this possibility. At the same time, any thought of using general absolution in a parish is moot given that gatherings of people in our churches are not permitted.

 

We can serve our people well with pastoral tenderness if we recall for them that our Lord knows their hearts and desires to reconcile their lives to Him and He awaits their presence in the Sacrament once the stay-at-home order is lifted and our churches are re-opened. Sharing this message with our parishioners at this time could also prove to be a good reminder of the Church’s precept of making a good confession at least once per year, which many parishioners strive to do during Lent.

 

Christian Burials

Burials at Catholic Cemeteries may continue and are not suspended at this time; however, attendance limit and social distancing requirements apply per below.

Please note that our churches are still closed; therefore, funeral Masses are not possible.

However, if a family requests a funeral, there are two options:

  1. A funeral service, not a Mass, may take place at the funeral home

    1. the limit for attendees remains 10 people at this time (inclusive of the funeral director, priest, mourners, etc.)

    2. All attendees must practice social distancing

  2. A funeral service may take place graveside at the cemetery before committal/burial.

    1. the limit for attendees remains 10 people at this time (inclusive of the funeral director, priest, mourners, etc.)

    2. All attendees must practice social distancing 

 

Plenary Indulgence

The Apostolic Penitentiary also issued a decree granting a Plenary Indulgence during this extraordinary time. In light of this, please consider sharing the following with your people:

 As many people are unfamiliar with indulgences it is helpful to review in a simple way the Church’s true teaching on this grace:

  • Fundamentally, indulgences (plenary/full or partial) refer to a repairing and healing of the damage inflicted by sin.

  • In the English language, the word "indulgence" carries the connotation of "permission" or "license to do something." In the Church and with regard to sin, this certainly is not the case.

  • In traditional language, this is the "remission of temporal punishment due to sin." That we, through prayer and action recommended by the Church, can engage in this healing and repair is not because of our own efforts, merit, or power.

  • The Church, drawing on the doctrine of the Mystical Body of Christ and the Communion of Saints speaks of drawing grace from the "treasury of the Church."

  • In this moment of isolation and disconnection, the proposal to seek an indulgence re-affirms our connection in the Body of Christ and with the saints.

  • The Plenary indulgence is granted to the faithful suffering from Coronavirus, who are subject to quarantine by order of the health authority in hospitals or in their own homes if, with a spirit detached from any sin, they: 

    • unite spiritually through the media to the celebration of Holy Mass, the recitation of the Holy Rosary, to the pious practice of the Way of the Cross or other forms of devotion,

    • or if at least they will recite the Creed, the Lord's Prayer and a pious invocation to the Blessed Virgin Mary, offering this trial in a spirit of faith in God and charity towards their brothers and sisters, 

    • with the will to fulfill the usual conditions (sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer according to the Holy Father's intentions), as soon as possible, when the suspensions are lifted.

    • Please use your parish website, email blasts, etc. to let your parishioners know this information.

    • In addition, health care workers, first responders, family members and all those who, following the example of the Good Samaritan, exposing themselves to the risk of contagion, care for the sick of Coronavirus according to the words of the divine Redeemer: ‘Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends’ (Jn 15: 13), will obtain the same gift of the Plenary Indulgence under the same conditions.

  • Especially in this challenging moment, seeking an indulgence is a way of doing something spiritually and a way of praying for ourselves and for others.

 

Peace,

Bishop Ron Hicks

 

March 20th, 2020
 

Governor Pritzker has announced a mandatory shelter-in-place order for the State of Illinois.  What this means for our parishes is that effective 5 p.m. Saturday, March 21 through Tuesday, April 7, 2020 (However, the Archdiocese has suspended all Masses & services through and including Easter until further notice):
 

  • 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.
     

  • Priests can continue celebrating Mass privately. Moreover, anointing of the sick especially, for those in hospice care can take place observing Archdiocesan guidelines.
     

  •  Parish offices must be closed until the governor’s order is lifted, except for identified essential functions.

March 19th, 2020

The Chrism Mass will NOT be celebrated publicly, nor will we hold our annual Day of Reflection. Cardinal Cupich and the auxiliary bishops will celebrate the Mass in Holy Name Cathedral, which will be livestreamed for the benefit of the faithful to view in their homes.

Holy oils will not be distributed until the current health crisis has abated.

Palm Sunday and Holy Week Liturgies will not be celebrated publicly in our parishes.

  • There are NOT to be any public celebrations, even outside including live Stations of the Cross on Good Friday.
     

  • There are NOT to be any distribution of blessed palms; however, if a priest blesses palms privately, those palms may be reserved for distribution at a later date to be determined by the USCCB and/or Archdiocese of Chicago.
     

  • Easter sacraments for RCIA candidates and catechumens are to be postponed – guidance will be provided later on when they might be celebrated after this crisis subsides.
     

  • The Mass of the Lord’s Supper (without washing of the feet), the Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion, and the Easter Vigil will be celebrated by Cardinal Cupich and the auxiliary bishops in Holy Name Cathedral without a congregation and will be livestreamed. If/when the Mass of the Lord’s Supper is celebrated privately in your parish, it is not to include the ritual of the washing of feet.
     

  • There should be no Communion services currently nor during Holy Week until we are cleared to return for public liturgies.
     

  • Please continue to follow the CDC guidelines by allowing no more than 10 people to gather together at one time inside or outside the church, practicing social distancing, and cleaning and disinfecting of churches after use.
     

As you saw, updated guidelines about funerals and wakes were distributed on Wednesday, March 18. Please adhere to these, as well as the ongoing suspension of ALL public liturgies, which includes all Masses AND Communion services.
 

Again, these guidelines and all current liturgical guidance, developed in line with that of the CDC and competent authorities can be found at https://www.archchicago.org/coronavirus. Please reference this page often to remain familiar with how best to serve the people of God during this pandemic.
 

On this Solemnity of St. Joseph, let us invoke his intercession for the virtue and guidance we all need to lead our parish families during this difficult time.
 

St. Joseph, Mirror of Patience and Protector of Holy Church, pray for us.
 

Peace,

Bishop Ron Hicks

St. Matthew Parish --1001 E. Schaumburg Rd. -- Schaumburg, IL  60194 -- 847.891.1220