June 16, 2020
We have taken initial steps to resume some sacramental services in our church. We are extremely concerned about the health and well being of our faithful parishioners. Covid-19 is a dangerous virus and we are required to use extreme caution. Cardinal Cupich has requested that all parishes follow the same procedures in a process of opening the church. This process has several steps. The process and instructions are explained in detail in the guidelines which are found on the homepage of our website at ololchicago.org.
The opening of the church will take place in phases. The church will be opened only for groups of 10 or less. In the first phase, we are preparing only for Baptisms, Weddings, Funerals and Reconciliation. Following this, we can prepare to open for private prayer. Right now, there is no discussion of opening for regular masses either on the weekdays or weekends.
The first step is to open the church for Baptisms, Weddings, Funerals and Reconciliation with a limit of ten people in attendance. After we have done this successfully, we will begin the process of preparing for weekday and weekend masses. I have already formed a parish team who will be responsible for coordinating this effort. Obviously this will require some great teamwork on our part.
Please read this closely. Contact me if you have comments, questions, or concerns. I can be reached at 773-561-2141 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The volunteer team will sanitize the church after EVERY SINGLE CELEBRATION of Baptisms, Funerals, Funerals or Reconciliation. We need this team so that we can begin to open the church for Baptisms, Funerals, Weddings and Reconciliation. We already have a team of about 20 parishioners. We would like to double the size of this group so we can spread out the work. Our highest priority is the safety of our people.
According to the guidelines of the Archdiocese of Chicago, this team will be trained, certified and documented to be safety and maintenance ministers. The volunteers for this team are those who are between the ages of 65 and 18 and have no health issues related to Covid-19. Today, I continue to ask for volunteers to consider being a part of this team. You will see the requirements for the team in the plan below.
Of course we want to resume the full sacramental life of the church but we are not allowed to do that until we have a trained, certified, documented team for each and every service. As far as cleaning, we will not be able to simply ask any person, or usher, or minister who happens to be around. We are required to have trained teams before we open. We will only be able to schedule services IF we have trained cleaners available to clean up afterward. This requirement will have a significant impact on how many services we can have.
Requirements for Volunteers
Please consider being a part of the volunteer team at Our Lady of Lourdes. Here are the requirements. To protect the health and the safety of our parishioners, staff and volunteers, please follow the CDC guidelines. If you have experienced any of the below, we ask that you not volunteer at this time:
- A fever, cough, or shortness of breath.
- Traveled from an affected geographic area within the past 14 days, OR
- Been in close contact with a person with confirmed COVID-19 within the past 14 days.
- Ages 65 and over are considered vulnerable and are asked not to volunteer to be a member of the team.
If you have chronic lung disease, heart disease, diabetes, cancer or a weakened immune system. Training and Certification
- Volunteers will be trained and certified thru an online webinar.
- You will be asked to join a team of volunteers to provide cleaning and sanitizing after every celebration of Baptisms, Weddings, Funerals, or Reconciliation.
- Ideally, volunteer teams will be asked to help for 2-3 hours on a Wednesday evening, once per month. Or, they will be asked to help for 2-3 hours on a Saturday or Sunday morning, once per month.
- The online training webinar will provide additional details.
Thank you and may we continue to pray for one another
Fr. Michael Shanahan, Pastor