Reopening Plan for St. Giles Church amid COVID-19
March 21, 2020

Volunteer Here to Help Reopen St. Giles!

Hello St. Giles Family,

I pray that you and your loved ones are healthy. As you may have seen, Cardinal Cupich recently shared our multi-phased plan for reopening churches in the Archdiocese of Chicago. Specifically,

  • Phase I allows for parishes to reopen for Baptism, Reconciliation, Weddings and Funerals with a limit of 10 attendees.
  • Phase IA allows for parishes to reopen for private prayer and adoration with a limit of 10 attendees.
  • Phase II allows for reopening for weekday and weekend Masses for larger groups depending on the guidelines from the state and the capacity of the church building.

Our St. Giles Church Reopening Plan – First and foremost, it is important for everyone to understand that our efforts will prioritize the safety and wellbeing of all while maintaining due respect and reverence for the sacraments and liturgical norms of our faith.

I am assembling a Parish Reopening Leadership Team with parishioner co-captains to lead our efforts. Together, we will attend required training from the Archdiocese to ensure that our parish reopening plan conforms to the guidelines developed by the Archdiocese in collaboration with civil and healthcare authorities. We will also receive a starter kit of protective and cleaning supplies, as well as guidance on purchasing / maintaining supplies ongoing.

Volunteers Needed – In order for our parish reopening plan to be implemented, I am asking you to consider being a volunteer. However, to keep everyone safe, we are required to ask only those under the age of 65 to participate in the work the reopening plan. It is also important that you not have any underlying medical condition, such as diabetes or lung disease, or are undergoing cancer treatment, etc. If you are someone who can volunteer under these circumstances, I urge you to consider assisting me with one of these three reopening teams:

  • Set-up team – Sample duties include ensuring that all supplies needed for each sacramental celebration / gathering are ready for use, entrances and exits are marked and propped physically open prior to attendees’ arrival/departure, windows are opened, etc.
  • Greeting team – Sample duties include assisting in managing the flow of congregants as they enter the church, making sure attendees use hand sanitizer upon entering, are wearing a mask, and are reminded not to enter if ill; directing people to appropriate seating/waiting areas, etc.
  • Cleaning team – Sample 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, in addition to approved cleaning / disinfecting supplies.

The Reopening Leadership Team and I will make sure that all volunteers and properly trained. If you are willing and able to volunteer, please choose a team via this SignUp Genius Link, using the QR code at the bottom of this letter, or send a message to Alex Ryan at alexryan@stgilesparish.org.

Timing for Our Reopening – As I mentioned, we are assembling the Parish Reopening Leadership Team members and we are working to complete the required training, which is already underway. Once the Leadership Team completes the training, we will need to review and complete the tasks assigned to all parishes as part of a reopening certification process to be approved by the Archdiocese. Our parish, like all others in the archdiocese, will move forward at a pace and timing appropriate for our own situation.

Following our training and certification approval, at St. Giles, we will only open our church once the Reopening Leadership Team and I feel confident that we have the right volunteers in place to make it possible to reopen. Again, the need for parishioner assistance cannot be overstated.

The guidelines and measures required to reopen are designed to protect our wellbeing and that of the of our broader community. As Cardinal Cupich has noted, from the first pages of Scripture we learn that we indeed are “our brother’s keeper.” Our Lord Jesus Christ prayed, “that they all may be one” (Jn 17:21) and commanded us “love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another” (Jn 13:34). Our collective patience, willingness to help and the care we take to reopen is a demonstration of our unity and love for one another.

May God grant you His peace during this difficult time and may He manifest His love and presence to you in abundant ways. If you have any questions, please contact me at stgiles@stgilesparish.org.

Sincerely yours in Christ,
Rev. Carl Morello – Pastor of St. Giles Parish

Volunteer Here to Help Reopen St. Giles!