Covid-19 Updates

Letter from Fr. Kevin, May 22 2020 – Volunteers Needed for Reopening Teams

My Dear Sisters and Brothers,
It has been my prayer that each one of you, and those you hold dear, are healthy and doing your best to thrive in this time of Pandemic. It is hard to believe that we have just passed the two month mark of social-distancing, e-learning, shelter-in-home, and wearing face masks in public. Most importantly, who would have thought that we would not be able to celebrate our liturgies, sacraments, and all of the end-of year sacramental activities that make up our Saint Mary Parish and our school, Pope John XXIII?
As you may have heard through the news media, Cardinal Cupich, recently shared a multi-phased plan for reopening churches in the Archdiocese of Chicago. Please check out this link for the documents: [Reopening]
  • Phase I allows for parishes to reopen for Baptisms, Reconciliation, Weddings, and Funerals with a limit of 10 attendees.
  • Phase I-A allows for parishes to reopen for private prayer and adoration with a limit of 10 attendees at any one time.
  • Phase II allows for reopening for weekday and weekend Masses for larger groups depending on guidelines and capacity of the church building.
Our Saint Mary Parish Reopening Plan
It is important to understand that the efforts of the Archdiocese of Chicago and Saint Mary Parish will prioritize the safety and well-being of all while maintaining due respect and reverence for the sacraments and the liturgical norms of our faith.
I have been in the process of recruiting a Parish Reopening Leadership Team with parishioner co-captains to lead our efforts. All volunteers are required to attend training to ensure that our reopening plans conform to the guidelines developed by the Archdiocese in collaboration with civil and healthcare authorities. We have also received a starter kit of protective and cleaning supplies, as well as detailed guidance on purchasing and maintaining adequate supplies.
Volunteers Needed
We will need volunteers to assist with various aspects of our parish reopening plan. It is important, that our leadership team members and our volunteers not be part of a “vulnerable population”, that is, not over 65, or with any underlying health conditions, such as diabetes, respiratory disease, or on-going cancer treatments. The Archdiocese is asking to keep our parishioners safe by asking for volunteers who are younger than 65 and are healthy with no underlying health conditions that would put your health at risk.
For further information on the Reopening Directives and Training Documents, please check out this link,[Reopening Training


  • Set-up Team: Duties include ensuring that all supplies needed for each sacramental celebration/gathering are ready for use; entrances and exits are marked and physically propped open prior to parishioner arrival and departure; windows are opened, etc.
  • Greeting Team: Duties include assisting the flow of parishioners as they enter the Church, making sure that all use hand sanitizer upon entering, and are not ill.  They will ask that all parishioners wear face masks, and will direct people to appropriately spaced seating, etc.
  • Cleaning Team: Duties include maintaining and cleaning essential and trafficked areas of the church before and after the church has been used.  Masks and gloves will be provided, if you do not have your own.  Cleaning and disinfecting supplies will be provided.

The Reopening Leadership Team and I will make sure that all volunteers are properly trained. Please call me at the parish office at (847) 864-0333, ext. 204, and leave a message, or email me to indicate your willingness and ability to volunteer:

Timing for Saint Mary Reopening
The Reopening Leadership Team has already attended, or are in the process of participating in, a required webinar this week. On Wednesday evening we had an impromptu meeting of those who had already committed to being part of the Leadership Team. The recorded webinar, which will be required for all volunteers who will join the various teams, is now available online through the Archdiocese. Once the parish volunteers complete the training, and once the parish puts all directives into action, we will submit our Reopening Certification Request, to be approved by the Archdiocese.
Following our training and certification from the Archdiocese, Saint Mary Parish will open for these public sacramental events, once the Reopening Leadership Team and I feel confident that we have the right quantity of volunteers in place to make a safe opening possible. Again, the need for parishioner volunteers cannot be overstated.
The guidelines and measures required to reopen are designed to protect the well-being of parishioners and community. Our collective patience, our willingness to help and care for others as we move back into our sacramental life, will be a demonstration of our unity and love for one another.
May God grant you His gentle and healing peace during these difficult times, and as Pope Francis recently addressed how we are to move through this pandemic, he said, “Let us be gentle with each other,”, and let us recognize each other as brothers and sisters in love and humility.
Fr. Kevin
Restore Illinois – May 5 2020
Office of the Governor J.B. Pritzker
May 14, 2020
From Fr. Kevin McCray,Pastor

My Dear Sisters and Brothers,

I hope all is well with your family and those you hold dear.  Enclosed in this e-blast is a letter from Cardinal Cupich, dated yesterday, that went out to the media and posted on the Archdiocese of Chicago various media platforms.

In collaboration with the other Illinois dioceses, and with medical and government officials, a plan is being developed for how we can move toward opening our parishes so the Sacraments can be administered.  Regardless how it will be portrayed on news reports or in the paper, it will be a multi-phased opening, and it will not be a quick opening.  The first focus will be on administering those activities that can be done in small groups, such as baptisms, weddings, and funerals.

The parish leadership will be involved in implementing the requirements, once developed, for training volunteers, and for being certified—all before a parish will be allowed to open their doors to public events.  This is still a work-in-progress, with many details being developed by the Archdiocese, who will then train the parishes.

As frustrating as this is for everyone, the focus remains that parishes provide a safe environment for all who are allowed to enter the doors.  It is an act of charity to assure that we act with good hospitality, prudence, and to keep all parishioners healthy and safe.

We will continue to pass on information as it becomes finalized.  Thank you for your patience.

In Christ’s Peace,

Fr. Kevin
May 14, 2020
From Archbishop Cardinal Blase J. Cupich

This message is for all the clergy, staff and faithful of our archdiocese.

Dear Friends in Christ,

These fifty days of Easter, leading to Pentecost, are marked by unprecedented suffering, as humanity has fallen victim to a perilous contagion. In addition to the threats to our physical wellbeing, we are suffering spiritually as the Covid-19 pandemic has required restrictions of our worship and active participation in the sacramental life of the Church. Surely, there have been moments in history when governments and rulers have persecuted Christians and banned their public worship. This is not one of them. Rather, the present restrictions come in response to an extreme medical emergency as local, state and federal authorities – specifically public health officials – legitimately fulfil their responsibilities to safeguard human life and the common good. They have based their reasonable guidance on careful consideration of empirical data and the best available disease-mitigation practices as they seek to contain the pandemic’s rampage through our communities.

While everyone must exercise good citizenship in observing these restrictions, I call on the Catholic faithful, as advocates for justice and charity, to comply with these regulations. From the first pages of Scripture we learn that we indeed are “our brother’s keeper,” a truth that must inspire us as we are called to sacrifice. We should also be motivated to cooperate with public safety norms, given our reverence for life and human dignity. This is, at its heart, a moment to proclaim the breadth and depth of what it means to be pro-life, particularly as this virus preys on the most vulnerable in our midst.

The good news is that a plan for a gradual reopening of our churches has now taken shape, as I note below. However, since our movements will be restricted as that plan unfolds in different phases, your pastors and bishops will continue for the present time to offer Mass in private each day and to livestream and broadcast Masses from our parishes and the archdiocese. I am particularly grateful to ABC-TV, Univision and Polvision in Chicago for giving us airtime every Sunday. These celebrations surely are not the same as gathering in our churches for Mass, but I know from hearing from many parishioners that they provide a great deal of solace and support in this time of uncertainty.

We must be honest. We expect this situation to continue for some weeks, and any plan for reopening our Churches for public worship must include every precaution to ensure public gatherings do not create a second wave of contagion, thus squandering the gains made through our sacrifice in these days.

With those realities in mind, I am heartened to announce that the Catholic Bishops of Illinois have reached an agreement with the Office of the Governor on a multi-phase Plan for re-opening our churches for the celebration of the sacraments, private prayer, adoration and Mass. As I share the Plan with you, both by way of an Executive Summary and the full Plan in the attachment, I want to assure you of my prayers for you and your family’s personal, material and spiritual wellbeing. I also express my appreciation to the many people on the archdiocesan staff and in the Office of the Governor for the many hours they have given to designing and fine tuning this agreement. Again, I call on all Catholics to seize this moment to exercise faith-filled citizenship in a way that reflects our deep regard for life, our calling as disciples of Jesus and our love of country.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Cardinal Blase J. Cupich

From the Archdiocese of Chicago
No Public Liturgical or Sacramental Celebrations
Per the Vicar General communication on April 7, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now “recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.”
In view of this updated guidance, we remind all pastors and administrators of parishes and agencies that there are to be no public liturgical or sacramental celebrations (including drive-through or parking-lot gatherings for Communion, confession or blessings) until further notice.
Safe Environment Principles (Protecting Our Children Online)
Caring adults can prevent child sexual abuse by keeping their eyes and ears open to suspicious activity and by knowing how to report it.

Our Parish Responds to the Corona Virus Pandemic

Due to the shelter-in-place order issued by Governor Pritzker and based on current guidelines from the CDC, local health departments, and directives from the Archdiocese of Chicago:

  • The church building is closed and public masses are suspended.
  • The parish center is closed. Parish staff is still working remotely from home and are available via phone and email.
  • Pope John XXIII School remains closed. Our students will continue their studies through e-learning at home.
  • Our Parish Religious Education Classes are suspended for the remainder of the program year. Families will continue class sessions at home. See our Religious Education page for family resources. [click here]
  • All meetings and events scheduled to occur on parish grounds are suspended and the Parish Center is closed until further notice.
  • All UCYM (United Catholic Youth Ministry) programs and the offices of UCYM will be closed at both our Saint Mary and Saint Nicholas locations until further notice. For more information [click here]