Dear Parishioners of St. Margaret Mary,
In a letter dated May 18th and released by Bishop David Malloy decreed the following for the Diocese of Rockford:
- In accordance with the current guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the State of Illinois, fully vaccinated laity and clergy are no longer required to wear masks or social distance.
- This applies to both sacramental (Mass, funerals, confessions) and non-sacramental gatherings (classes, presentations, etc.).
- If you are vaccinated and feel more comfortable wearing a mask, please do so and be assured that everyone should respect that and maintain safe distancing where possible and practical.
- At this time, priests, deacons, and Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion will continue to wear a mask as they distribute Holy Communion.
- Please note that no one is to be asked about their vaccination status or to document that status. We should respect every individual’s private medical decisions. So, we will neither be asking nor seeking to verify anyone’s vaccination status. If not vaccinated please follow the guidance of the CDC and wear your mask.
- The cooperation and good will of all is presumed in this matter.
- These policies are in no way to represent an endorsement or any kind of statement, positively or negatively, about taking the vaccine.
- In a spirit of Christian charity, we ask that everyone respects those who choose to wear a mask and those who are not wearing a mask.
- Additionally, we are increasing mass attendance to 350 people as well per the directive of the Bishop to allow for up to a 75% occupancy. Please be courteous to all those around you and maintain where applicable and possible to practice safe distancing.
- As things evolve, we will adjust as necessary including the group sizing and protocols to follow for all our additional spaces on the Parish campus.
We know that some do not feel safe being at church with those who are not wearing masks. We understand their concern with protecting public and health and safety. We will continue to encourage everyone to be responsible by requesting you not come to Mass if you are sick and to continue to practice good hand hygiene. However, we must continue to follow the guidance that our Bishop has given us, as we have tried to do throughout the pandemic. As a parish we all must find a balance between ensuring a safe environment while not placing unnecessary burdens on others.