Parish Updates Amid Coronavirus Pandemic – Update: March 23, 2020

The following can be found on the Diocese of Peoria’s website (

March 21, 2020 Directives pursuant to Governor Pritzker’s Order (5:00pm)

These directives are intended to accompany the previously issued letter of Bishop Jenky (03/13/2020). All of these directives remain in effect until further notice. They are in effect for the Diocese of Peoria and can be dispensed only for the gravest of reasons and by the Bishop or the Vicar General.

The celebration of Holy Mass

  • Public celebration of Masses is suspended.
  • Specifically, it is the Mass coram populo (in the presence of the people) that is suspended.
  • Priests are very much encouraged to continue offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
  • Instances of priests traveling to religious houses for Mass will be discontinued until the Governor’s Order is lifted.


  • We will not be celebrating funerals during this period though we will bury the dead.
  • It is permitted to perform the Rite of Committal outdoors – not in a chapel – at the graveside.
  • At a mausoleum, the cleric and the faithful are all to remain outdoors and exercising proper social distancing.
  • The suspension extends as well to the Funeral Liturgy Outside of Mass that is often done at the funeral home.
  • Naturally, we encourage the celebration of a memorial Mass once the suspension is lifted.


  • All wedding celebrations – with or without a Mass – are suspended until the Governor’s Order is lifted.


  • All Baptisms are to be postponed until the Governor’s Order is lifted. Exceptions will be made in the case of a true emergency. Contact the Vicar General for permission in this case.

Contrary to an earlier communication, except for those who wish to be confirmed who are in danger of death, the celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation is suspended.

Anointing of the Sick and Viaticum

  • Priests, using the greatest prudence, may continue to administer the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick and administer Viaticum to those who are dying.
  • It is of greatest importance that priests be diligent about not contaminating their oil stock by reinserting their thumb without first thoroughly washing their hands.
  • In the case of those who are known to have the Coronavirus, further directives should be sought from the Vicar General or the Episcopal Vicar for Healthcare.

Holy Communion to the Sick

  • Except for those who are dying, the practice of bringing Holy Communion to the sick is
  • The widespread practice of having Holy Communion brought to the sick by Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion is suspended until the Governor’s Order is lifted.
  • In the case of those who are known to have the Coronavirus, further directives should be sought from the Vicar General or the Episcopal Vicar for Healthcare.


  • Priests may continue to hear confessions of the dying.
  • Further directives will be forthcoming regarding confessions.

Churches, Parish Offices, Parish Events, and Social Outreach

  • During the time of the Governor’s Order, churches and chapels are to be closed and locked.
  • Parish events and activities of any kind are suspended.
  • Parish offices are to remain closed. That stated, each Pastor and his staff must identify the essential functions that need to continue. It is our expectation that parish staff work from home and will not have any extended time whatsoever in the parish office.
  • Decisions regarding social outreach programs will be made on a case-by-case basis. Contact the Vicar General for direction in specific cases.
March 13 Letter from the Bishop Suspending all Public Masses

To the Priests, Deacons, and Faithful of the Diocese of Peoria,

I had hoped to wait a week for events to further unfold before taking the dramatic step of suspending public Divine Worship.  Upon wider consultation, however, I have decided that our Local Church will act in unison with other dioceses in Illinois and elsewhere and suspend all public Masses beginning this Saturday, at the Vigil Mass, on March the 14th.   Those funeral Masses already scheduled in parish churches may take place.  At this time, outside committal services may continue.  Memorial Masses should be scheduled at a later date. Marriage ceremonies in parish churches scheduled for this Saturday may take place, and there will be further guidelines from the Office of the Vicar General for the future.  Baptisms should continue but with only the parents and godparents present.  Using great prudence and where it is possible, the Sacrament of the Sick and Holy Viaticum may also be administered.  Masses and other liturgies in formed religious houses may continue but must not be open to the public.

Dear friends in Christ, these are perilous days but certainly not unprecedented in human history.  I urge you to be patient and faith filled.  Cling more closely to the Lord, and be sure to pray together at home among your family and friends.  For the present, we need to break the chain of transmission of the contagion, but I know that in the future we will much more appreciate and never again take for granted the great gift of our parish communities.

May God bless and protect you.
Most Reverend Daniel R. Jenky, C.S.C.
Bishop of Peoria


This is an evolving situation. As updates are made available, we will share them within the News and Notes section here on our website and our on parish Facebook page.

In the coming days, we will be sharing resources to aid you in your prayer life and help you continue to grow in your faith. For our CCD families, there will be resources shared in a separate News and Notes post with resources from our Faith Formation publisher.

As always, please continue to lift up our community and the world in your prayers.

God bless,
Fr. Vien, Fr. Greg and St. Mary of Lourdes/St. Mary’s, Metamora Staff