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Updates Regarding COVID-19

UPDATE: 2:00 pm

Per guidelines from the Archdiocese of Chicago, there are no public Sunday Masses offered this weekend.

St. John Cantius Church will remain open at the regular hours for private prayer and priests will offer private Mass in the cloister chapel. The faithful cannot attend the Mass except via internet live-stream.

Confessions will be available for the faithful at the regular Saturday and Sunday hours for those in dire sacramental need.

Stations of the Cross will be held this evening at 7:30 pm and Confessions will be heard at 7:00 pm.

As the suspension on Masses is not till Saturday evening, the Saturday 8:30 am Mass will be a High Mass and will be followed by a Eucharistic Procession and Litany of the Saints in the neighborhood. Confessions will be heard during Mass. ——


Friday March 13th, 2020

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The appearance of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) throughout the world and in the United States has created fear, anxiety, and concern. Science, our God-given reason, and our Catholic Faith demand that we employ every means, both physical and spiritual, to protect ourselves and our families against the spread of COVID-19 as with any other disease.

We Catholics know that God uses material means to communicate His grace and blessings to us. Sacred images, relics, incense, and other sacramentals like Holy Water, even the hands of a priest, convey to the faithful the grace and power of God, and make the Divine presence tangible to us. However, because of broken nature, the same material elements that can carry the blessings of God are also subject to the consequences of a fallen world.

At our parishes, the Canons Regular are adhering to the liturgical guidelines set by the Archdiocese of Chicago and the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois regarding liturgical celebrations during this time. Over and above these guidelines, you can be sure that the greatest care is being taken to make the reception of Holy Communion as hygienic as possible while maintaining the reverence proper to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. It is important for us to remember that the Blessed Sacrament, the Holy Eucharist, is not simply a material element but the very Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Our Faith teaches us that prayer and penance can have a salutary effect on our material world. As such, we implore our Faithful to join us in prayer for the health of the sick, and for the protection of every individual from this disease.

As a sign of our parish communities turning to God in prayer for this intention, all Sunday Masses at our parishes will be preceded by a special sprinkling rite with Holy Water and may include the Litany of Saints at sung Masses. As this situation develops, we will respond with Special votive Masses, processions, and other sacred rites. In short, we will implore God’s mercy that we are delivered.

While civic leaders and health officials work to lessen the impact of COVID-19, there may be valid reasons for people to abstain from attending Mass.  Canon Law (cf. canons 85 and 87) grants a dispensation from the obligation to attend Holy Mass to those of any age who are currently ill and those with an underlying health condition.

Those belonging to vulnerable groups such as the at-risk elderly, those with suppressed auto-immune systems, and those who suffer from chronic illnesses,  should especially protect themselves. These persons should refrain from attending church services during this period of time. Also, anyone caring for those suffering from COVID-19 should know that they are also not obliged to attend services.

In the event that public celebrations of the Mass are suspended by the authorities, the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius will continue to offer Masses and other Sacraments at their parishes, even if privately.

Our Faith teaches us that at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the Saints, Angels, all of Heaven are mystically present. We too can share in being spiritually present at the Mass and are able to receive graces. Thanks to modern technology, the faithful will be able to join spiritually and visually with the sacred liturgies offered at St. John Cantius Parish in Chicago, as these will be live-streamed via the Internet if public liturgies are curtailed.

In addition, a special private Mass will be offered each day by the Canons Regular for all who are sick in our parishes and those who are sick throughout our country and the world.

The priests of the Canons Regular will continue to offer the Sacraments to the sick in hospitals, homes, and wherever spiritual necessity or the good of a soul may take us. Please contact us and let us know of those who are suffering during this pandemic. This and any other tribulations are important moments for us to deepen our commitment to Christ Jesus, and His promise to be with us always. “But take courage; I have overcome the world!” (Jn. 16:33)

Sincerely in Christ,

Very Rev. Joshua S. Caswell, SJC Superior General and Pastor

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