20 Jul 2020 | Posted by: chadmin
July 17, 2020
We have all seen an uptick in the Covid-19 cases in our local area. As a doctor recently said to me, at some point we are all coming into some kind of proximity to this virus. St. Philomena Church was notified that a person who attended Mass on Sunday, July 12 at 9am, tested positive for Covid-19 this week. If you attended that particular Mass and are experiencing symptoms including fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, it is recommended that you be tested. There are several places that offer tests in Peoria. The Peoria City Health Department has information on testing locations, times and any qualifications to be tested – https://hhsil.com/covid-19 or call 309-495-8659. Some testing sites will only test you if you are displaying symptoms.
Bishop Daniel Jenky released the attached letter to the faithful of the Diocese. Out of an abundance of caution, the Bishop is asking that we not only maintain our social distancing in pews and walking in and out of church, but also wear face coverings the entire time in church and receive Communion only in the hand. I am hopeful that we won’t have to close our churches to the faithful again, but we all need to be prepared for adjustments to come based on the reality of the current day.
I remain confident in the system we put in place to open church. While it will be an adjustment now that everyone needs to wear a face covering throughout Mass, the social distancing at our church follows CDC guidelines. The transmission of the virus, when following social distancing, is low. We have a good system of thorough cleaning after each Mass or liturgy in church. The use of Eventbrite to schedule attendance at Mass allows us to control the number of people who enter church but also limits contact with ushers to help one find a seat. With the obligation to attend Sunday Mass currently removed it is optional to come to church. I will continue to livestream Mass and distribute Communion in the parking lot, for those who choose to not enter church. As always, if you have sickness of any kind, especially fever, please don’t attend Mass at this time. We all know how difficult the shutdown was for our families, our relationships, our occupations and our children. We need to continue working together to live with the reality of this virus.
Please continue to pray for our upcoming school year. The safety and health of our kids and teachers is of utmost importance. We know the need for kids to be in a classroom. We’ve been working hard to make the best decisions and plans for the upcoming year, with all options in consideration. Bishop Jenky recently communicated his desire for all of our schools to begin with in-person learning, five days a week. With this intention, we will have protocols in place for day-one of school, based on the condition of the virus in Peoria the first day of school. With the situation that day, the State, the Diocese of Peoria, and/or St. Philomena may require face coverings at all times while on campus. Health and safety are always the main decision makers. While we plan for five days a week, in-class learning, we also plan for E-Learning fulltime or part-time if needed. We plan to have kids in our building, but we are planning for what the virus dictates, what the Governor may mandate, what the Bishop may require or the needs of our kids or families, in or out of our school building. If some hybrid of in-school and at home learning is required this school year, we plan to offer what will best serve our kids and families. Stay tuned and please pray for the health and safety of all our loved ones.
God bless you,
Fr. David P. Richardson