Dear People of Saint Anne,
On March 3, 2020, due to public health concerns regarding the Coronavirus, all parishes of the Archdiocese of Chicago have received new liturgical practices to be followed during this critical time. Based on guidance from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Divine Worship, the following practices are to be implemented immediately in our Communities of Faith.
All priests, deacons, altar servers and ministers of the Eucharist must wash hands before Mass and use an alcohol based, anti- bacterial solution before and after distributing Holy Communion.
During all Masses and liturgies until we are informed otherwise, here at Saint Anne:
We will refrain from physical contact during the pre – liturgy greeting and hand shake and during the Sign of Peace (note: the pre – liturgy greeting and the Sign of Peace can be exchanged without physical contact – by turning to one another in a friendly nod of acknowledgement and welcome.)
Except for the Presider, who receives the Precious Blood from his chalice, the assembly will refrain from distribution of the Eucharist under the form of the precious blood. As you know for any parishioners with celiac disease of sensitivity, there are special hosts that can be requested in the church sacristy before Mass begins.
We realize that some communicants prefer to receive Communion on the tongue. However, given the frequency of direct contact with saliva in distribution of Holy Communion on the tongue, every consideration should be given by each individual to receive Holy Communion reverently in open hands for the time being. What is important is that we receive Christ in Holy Communion.
The Font at the entrance of the church has been drained and covered with a purple Lenten cloth. So, the traditional signing ourselves with the Waters of Baptism will be suspended during this outbreak. We do not celebrate Parish Baptisms during the Lenten season.
On the pillars in the Gathering Space, near the entrance of the Chapel and near the sign in desk for Ministers, you will notice that there have been new dispensers of anti – bacterial solution installed for your use and convenience. Our Ministers of the Communion, as always, are encouraged to purify their hands as they line up to be ministers after the sign of peace.
We strongly encourage those who are sick or experiencing symptoms of sickness to recognize that they are not obliged to attend Mass, and out of charity for their neighbor ought not to attend. Catechism 2181 allows for serious reasons like illness.
As we spoke about these changes in our liturgical practice during our Core Parish Staff Meeting this last week, we recognize that these guidelines from the Office of Worship, will have an impact on the way we celebrate the Eucharist as a Community of Faith. These measures are meant to currently protect the health of our parishioners. They are not to be seen as an enduring change in our liturgical practices for any theological reason by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. We will need some time and patience to get used to these temporary changes.
Finally, we wish good health for all of our brothers and sisters and in a special way, let us pray to the Divine Physician for the full recovery and healing of all those who have contracted this virus.
In Christ Jesus, the Healer of our every ill,
Father Bernie Pietrzak