Reservations are no longer needed to attend Mass at St. Mary Church in Downs!
- The main body of the church with pews will be completely open for seating. All tape and signage will be removed, and every pew will be used.
- The side seating area with chairs will remain socially distant.
- Masks must be worn while entering and exiting the building, however those fully vaccinated may remove their masks once seated.
WARNING ABOUT RISK ASSUMED BY PARISHIONERS:
While our parish staff will attempt to take appropriate precautions consistent with the advice of public health authorities, parishioners and guests should understand that they assume the risk of contracting COVID-19 anytime they enter a public space since such precautions do not eliminate the risk of infection.
Guidelines for Attending Mass
Our ability to open our church and celebrate public Mass is dependent on following guidelines from the Peoria Diocese and Public Health Officials. These guidelines were developed to keep our parishioners and our staff safe during the pandemic. We have been diligent in our approach and have implemented procedures at St. Patrick Church of Merna to meet all criteria.
Since the seating capacity in the church has been reduced drastically, Bishop Jenky has dispensed the faithful from the Sunday obligation to attend Mass. Please do not attend Mass if you are in a high-risk category, have an underlying health condition, or feel it is more prudent to stay at home. If you are ill, have recently been sick, or have been exposed to someone with Covid-19 or Covid-19 symptoms, please do not attend Mass. Our goal is to allow those parishioners who want to attend Mass in person to do so safely.
Daily & Weekend Masses will continue to be live-streamed at St. Patrick Church of Merna to the St. Patrick Facebook Page and Website.
Here is what you need to know:
For the time being, Mass will be at 9 AM on Sundays. As we fine tune our processes and make them more efficient, we hope to offer more Mass times in the future, including the weekly Wednesday evening Mass.
REGISTERING FOR MASS (Through Eventbrite):
- While we always want to welcome guests, our limited capacity dictates that we give preference to our parishioners (St. Patrick Church of Merna and St. Mary’s Church in Downs) to attend Mass at St. Mary’s. Non-parishioners will be able to attend Mass if space allows. (Please call the front office for availability)
- Registration will be through Eventbrite.
- Registration for weekend Masses will open Mondays at 10 AM and close Saturdays at 3 PM.
- Select your date, time, and family size (those who will be at Mass with you that day). If you cannot find an available pew that matches your family size, select the next larger pew, and reserve it. Please call the front office for further questions.
- You will receive an email to confirm your reservation.
- If you do not feel comfortable with the online system or need assistance with reserving a spot, please call the Parish Office at 309-662-7361.
COMING TO CHURCH:
- Please use your restroom at home before arriving. Our restrooms will be available for emergencies only.
- Arrive at least 30 minutes prior to the start of Mass.
- MASKS ARE REQUIRED FOR EVERYONE OVER 2 YEARS OF AGE: After you park, ensure that all your family members have their masks on before they leave the car and enter the church building. Please wear a mask. It is an act of charity.
- Before entering the building, please ensure that your entire party has arrived.
- If you are a party of 3 or more, please enter through the Main Church Doors. If you are a party of 1 -2 please enter through the back church doors (one with the underpass)
- Once you are checked in, you will be directed to wait in line to be seated. Please practice social distancing while you are waiting. An offertory box will be available to accept your weekly envelopes and a sanitation station will be available as well.
- IF YOU ARE NOT CHECKED IN BY 10 MINUTES AFTER MASS HAS BEGUN; YOUR SEAT WILL BE REASSIGNED.
- When it is your turn, an Usher will greet you and take you to your assigned seat.
- To minimize contact while in the building, remain in your pews the whole time. If you need assistance, please get the attention of an Usher.
- There will be no Presentation of the Gifts or passing of the offertory basket. (Offertory boxes available upon arrival for drop off of weekly collection)
- There will be no exchange of the sign of peace.
- The Precious Blood will not be distributed.
TO FOLLOW SOCIAL DISTANCING RULES, OUR COMMUNION TRAFFIC PATTERN HAS CHANGED. PLEASE FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS OF THE USHERS.
- Ushers will dismiss you from your pew when it is your turn to receive Communion. Please be patient as this process will take a little more time than usual to allow us to safely distribute Communion to the faithful.
- As you wait in line, please practice social distancing while you are waiting.
- When it is your turn to receive the Consecrated Host, remove your mask and extend your arms forward without cupping your hands. The Eucharistic Minister will place the Consecrated host on the palm of your hand. Step aside, consume the Body of Christ, put on your mask again, and proceed back to your seat.
- For the safety of all those in attendance, please do not leave after Communion.
AT THE END OF MASS:
- After the final blessing, to minimize contact with other parishioners, Ushers will dismiss people by families and pews. Please do not leave your pew until instructed to do so.
- Do not gather in the Gathering Space or by the Welcome center.
LIVESTREAM & WALK-UP COMMUNION AT ST. PATRICK CHURCH OF MERNA
If you are unable to reserve a spot or are uncomfortable entering the building for Mass, we encourage you to still continue livestreaming Mass on the St. Patrick Church of Merna Facebook page or website. Please park by the Chapel Doors. (North Entrance)
During the time of Communion, Eucharistic Ministers & Ushers will distribute Communion at the Chapel Doors (North Entrance) for “Walk- Up” Communion under portico. Please follow the directions of the Ushers to safely receive Communion.
If you are unable to walk up and need Communion to be brought to you, please park in the handicapped spots and wave for an Usher at the Communion Distribution.