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    Once again, we’re in the territory of “don’t believe everything you read—or hear.” Yes, the bishops of Illinois have issued new parameters for the restoration of Sunday and daily masses, but the limits and conditions associated with that new order continue to be extreme and, so far for us, not yet possible. Here’s what’s permitted and what’s necessary to accomplish before we can get there.
    As of this weekend, masses can resume with a capacity of 15% to 20% of church capacity which for us would be between 133 and 177; that’s doable. (Now, forgive all the “buts” that follow, but they’re extremely important; do your best to keep track.) BUT, we can’t do that until we’ve had at least one weekend with a maximum of 50 persons at each mass. BUT we can’t do that until we’ve had at least three small gatherings of the 10 person maximum, such as Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament or simply an hour or two for private prayer. BUT we can’t do that until we have a full committee of parishioners (under the age of 65) and we’ve been certified by the archdiocese for initial reopening. That final “but” is the key to getting us to the very first step in this “reopening” process, and that all depends on YOU. The Archdiocese has made this extremely difficult by creating that age limit, since I know we’d have more than enough volunteers without it; I thought that 70 was the new 50 these days, but I guess that’s not the case here.
    So, the literal bottom line is this: we need people to step forward to captain/and or help out with three groups: set-up, greeting and cleaning; we have captains for the first two, but the third is still leader-less. And all those who volunteer must review the voluminous materials related to their jobs and, of course, be available for either daily or weekend masses for the foreseeable future. I know very well that this is a lot to ask, but we’re not going anywhere until we have that full complement of helpers—under 65!
    There are, however, a few more important points to understand. Once we’re able to have 50 people at a mass, those who wish to attend will have to register online. There are a number of ways we can do that, but there’s no point in reviewing that right now since it’s still a long way off. Even if we get to the point of being able to welcome 150 back for mass, the online registration would still be required for a simple reason: the church must be completely sanitized between masses, and that will take a considerable amount of time. That means that weekday masses and 5:15 on Saturday would be no problem, but only two Sunday masses would be realistically possible. So when we do get around to online registration, it will be so very important for parishioners to be aware of neighbors who might not use e-mail and to step forward to register for them. And one more thing: folks in those “vulnerable” groups—over 65 or with underlying health conditions—are still discouraged from attending mass and encouraged to continue watching on TV or the internet. One final BUT, though: as far as I’m concerned, no one of any age would be turned away or discouraged by anyone here!
    If you are willing to help us get to just the first step in this “reopening” process, please contact me directly at rkyfes@posjhomewood.org and I’ll put you in touch with one of the “captains” or send you the material you need to review. But please don’t reply directly to the e-mail you’re receiving; you’ll just be giving Agatha extra work to do, since she then has to forward your message to me.
    Thanks to all for your patience through these crazy days—and even for your impatience since that can sometimes move us where we need to be when we’re confronted by endless obstacles, either nature-made or man-made.
    Fr. Bob

    June 5, 2020


    A parishioner (an attorney!) just called my attention to a portion of the Archdiocesan guidelines that I admit I overlooked. This opens up two of the teams—Set-up and Disinfecting—to parishioners in that “vulnerable” age group of over-65. So if you are in that age group and understand “the inherent risks”, please contact me directly at rkyfes@posjhomewood.org and I will forward your information to the appropriate captain. However, we are still in need of a captain for the Disinfecting team as well as an overall Co-Coordinator to work with Dave Wolken, and those positions can be filled by anyone over the age of 65........READ MORE>


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