June 10, 2021 | Diocese of Joliet Announces New Covid Protocols for Parishes

June 10, 2021 | Diocese of Joliet Announces New Covid Protocols for Parishes

These are effective June 11th when the State enters Phase 5
(If the State does not enter Phase 5 we will continue with the previously issued “Bridge Phase” protocols)


  • The dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass remains in place for the time being, with the intention of providing our parishes and our parishioners the opportunity to navigate and adjust to the new guidelines and protocols.
  • As always, if you are not feeling well or have a medical condition that puts you at a higher risk of being infected with COVID, you should not attend Mass. Those having such conditions are encouraged to contact our parish nurse to arrange for communion to be brought to their home.

Wearing of masks

  • According to the CDC, fully vaccinated individuals can participate in indoor and outdoor activities, large or small, without wearing a mask or physical distancing. Individuals who have not been vaccinated should continue to wear masks.
  • Continue wearing a mask if you feel uneasy sitting with unmasked individuals.
  • Per CDC guidance, children younger than 12 should continue to wear masks since they have not yet been approved for vaccination.

Capacity and registration

  • Full capacity is allowed, and registration is no longer required.

Hand sanitizer

  • Hand sanitizer will be available, but not required for entering/exiting the church and/or at the reception of Holy Communion. Feel free to sanitize your hands before receiving communion with your own personal sanitizer.

Holy water fonts

  • Small holy water fonts or stoups with stationary water should remain empty. However, mechanically filtered and chlorinate baptismal fonts can be used.

Paper worship aids

  • Missals, hymnals, prayer books, bulletins, posters, etc. are now allowed


  • To our disappointment, restrictions remain for congregation singing. Choirs, as well as wind and brass instruments, are still not allowed.

Sign of peace

  • The sign of peace will continue to be made without physical contact.

Communion on the tongue

  • Communion on the hand is still the preferable option. Communion on the tongue is allowed at the pastor’s discretion.
  • The initial post crossed out below has been revised. Those wishing to receive communion on the tongue are invited to receive last; after those who have received Jesus on the hand has gone up the line first.
    • Fr. Don, in consultation with Fr. James and our parish nurse Jolene LeRoy and others has determined that communion on the tongue will be permitted in all communion lines. Those wishing to receive communion on the tongue no longer need to sit in a designated section.
  • Those distributing communion will have a sanitized cloth with them to wipe their fingers in the event they touch a person’s tongue while distributing communion.
  • Fully vaccinated priests, deacons, and Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist are no longer required to wear masks and face shields when distributing Holy Communion. Communion ministers not vaccinated will wear a facemask.
  • Communion from the cup is still not permitted.

Livestream Mass and parking lot communion

  • The 10:00AM Mass on Sunday will continued to be livestreamed. Those not comfortable coming inside the church may continue to watch the Mass on a mobile device in their car and communion will be brought to you.
  • Once the obligation to attend Mass is re-instated, parking lot communion will be discontinued. Watching Mass on livestream or television does not fulfill the obligation to attend Mass.

Altar servers

  • We will resume the use of altar servers the first weekend in August. This gives us time to train new servers and offer “refresher” sessions for those who wish to continue being an altar server.

Vaccination status

  • You will not be asked your vaccination status. However, we strongly encourage vaccinations for all liturgical ministers and for all who minister to others on behalf of Our Lady of Mercy parish.


FYI….The Blessed Sacrament Chapel is still closed until the cable holding the sanctuary lamp is replaced, which hopefully will be by the end of June.

We are extremely grateful to all who graciously cooperated with all the protocols and directives during the COVID pandemic. Thank you!