Diocese of Joliet

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COVID-19 Diocese of Joliet Re-Opening

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Date/Subject Information

The church has votive racks with lighters available to light candles.  Should they remove the votive racks entirely to eliminate touching of the lighters? 


Bulletins are mailed to the shut-ins.  Should this be eliminated since paper bulletins are not to be distributed? 

No. Shut-ins need contact and probably aren’t big computer users.  If you follow precautions of wearing gloves and mask while preparing the bulletins it should be ok. They are hopefully following safe practices to open mail anyway. 

Altar linens, in particular, corporals, are taken home and washed by volunteers.  Should this procedure be eliminated due to the touching of these linens during the cleaning process? The linens are soaked in water in order to clean them without use of chemicals (according to guidelines for cleaning these cloths). 

After being soaked and the water properly removed they can be washed with soap. Depending on the material some bleach could also be added. After cleaning they should be handled as little as possible. 

Will there be any type of “official” DOJ poster provided or is the DOJ going to recommend any posters that may be free to download

Any posters are acceptable. The buildings & properties office will work on some too.

The church has publication racks should these be emptied? Yes
If pew cushions are removable should they be taken off and just have the solid wood pews? It will be easier to disinfect the wood than the cushions. Are the seats comfortable without the cushions? If not leave the cushions in place. b. What do the pews look like without the cushions? If it doesn’t look acceptable leave them in place.
I am a priest who has health issues and over 65.  Will priests who are older and/or have such chronic medical conditions be discouraged/forbidden from presiding and preaching? You may still celebrate but must follow safety recommendations. A mask and face shield are required. Also more than 6’ separation should be maintained if you are at risk. The suggestion is 12 feet.
The use of younger people who do not have chronic health conditions could be asymptomatic carriers, will they be tested for CoVid 19? The capability for testing does not exist on a large scale yet. Volunteers must also wear masks. As mention above social distancing should be increased if you are vulnerable.
We are an older parish and the vast majority of our volunteers and ministers are over 65, can they volunteer? Those in the vulnerable demographic may volunteer  if they feel secure in their health condition they may volunteer. The parish should make every attempt to keep them away from positions where they come into contact with parishioners such as greeters. Masks are required and shields are recommended for them.
What do we do if a Parishioner  comes without a mask and refuses to wear one?   Explain they might be carrying the virus even if they don’t show symptoms and could affect others who might end up seriously ill. They should not enter without a mask .
What do we do if a Parishioner  comes without a mask because of breathing problems? Some accommodation should be made to isolate them at least 12 feet from anyone else.
What is the role of the lay Co-Leaders?

The two team lay Co-leaders will be responsible, with the pastor, for providing oversight on meeting the requirements and preparations for reopening and signing off on the certification request and ensuring that ongoing processes and operations comply with these guidelines. Coleaders must be respected, experienced members of the parish. Additionally, they should be:

  • Able to lead groups of individuals and effectively problem solve
  • Highly organized with incredible attention to detail
  • Available with the time to dedicate to overseeing the parish preparations
What if a priest comes into contact with a person who is covid positive, such as an anointing?

If he wearing full PPE gear he does not have to report it. He should keep a record of the event in case he becomes ill later.

We are an older parish and the vast majority of our volunteers and ministers are over 65, can they volunteer?