5/16/20 Letter from Fr. Max

Dear Friends in Christ:

As you have no doubt heard by now, earlier this week the Bishops of Illinois announced that they had reached an agreement with the Governor’s Office on a plan to open churches and Masses to the Catholic faithful of our state. (You can read Bishop Malloy’s statement regarding that agreement below.) They also released a copy of the “executive summary” of that plan.

The plan outlined in that executive summary is a very broadly written document, written so that it can apply to all the Dioceses of the state, some of which have not had their churches open to the faithful since the “stay at home” mandate began. And so, many of the details of that plan do not apply to our Rockford Diocese, which has already been allowing churches to remain open at the discretion of the pastor. Here at St. Mary’s, of course, we have chosen to remain open for you since the beginning.

In that regard, many of the things discussed in the plan have already been implemented here at St. Mary. For instance, we have already been keeping the church open for private prayer, and have been offering funeral and wedding Masses and the celebration of baptisms for individual families, and have continued to offer the sacrament of reconciliation. (And those things will continue.) The next step for our Parish Family, then, will be to begin welcoming parishioners to attend Mass in limited numbers. The plan issued by the Bishops is in keeping with the governor’s mandate, which is still in order, and which will only allow the attendance of 10 people at Mass for the time being.

Because the plan announced earlier in the week is written in such general terms for the entire state, Bishop Malloy’s office will soon be sending to us specific procedures and guidelines for implementing that plan in the parishes of our Rockford Diocese. Once we have received those guidelines for our Diocese, we will examine them and come up with a plan for re-starting public Masses here at St. Mary. Thank you for your patience while we do that! We want to make sure we have a parish plan that is equitable and efficient and clear. And given the size of our parish, and the fact that only 10 people will be able to attend any given Mass, that will require some interesting logistics on our part!

As soon as we have the details figured out for St. Mary’s, we will share it directly with you via our parish website, flock-note, and a letter mailed to every registered household in the parish. Admittedly, this is a small step toward restoring public Masses, but it is a step in the right direction, and for that we are grateful! In the meantime, the Bishop’s dispensation from Mass is still in place, and we will continue to live-stream and post our Sunday Mass for all of you. Please continue to pray for an end to the pandemic (which will make attending Mass simpler); and also pray that sooner rather than later we will be able to have more people attend Mass based on the square footage of each church, a system the state has already implemented with many retail stores and businesses.

As always, thank you for your faithfulness and prayers and love; we are blessed to have each of you with us in our Parish Family! We miss you and are praying for you every day; and as soon as we have dates and specifics for welcoming those groups of 10 to our Masses here at St. Mary you will be the first to know! Trust in Christ always, and may God bless and keep you every day.

In Christ,
Fr. Max

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May Crowning at Home

All gather around the statue to be crowned.

Prayer Leader:

“In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Blessed are you, Lord, God of Heaven and earth,
for in your mercy and justice you cast down the mighty and exalt the lowly.
Your marvelous wisdom is shown above all in the Word made flesh and in his Virgin Mother.
For he, your Son, who freely humbled himself even unto death on the cross,
now sits at your right hand and is radiant with unending glory,
the King of kings, and Lord of lords;
and she, the Virgin who wished to be called your servant, was singled out to be Mother of the Redeemer and true Mother of all the living:
now she is exalted above the choir of angels and reigns in glory with her Son,
praying for all of us, the Queen of mercy, pleading for grace.
Merciful Lord, look upon us your servants, who by crowning this image of the Mother of your Son, proclaim him as King of all creation and approach her as our Queen.
Give us the grace to follow them in serving you; to do what love demands for the sake of our
brothers and sisters;
to deny ourselves and spend ourselves, so as to win our neighbors for you;
to be lowly on earth, so as to be exalted in heaven, where you reward your faithful servants
with a crown of life.
We make our prayer always through Mary’s child, Jesus, who is Lord forever and ever. Amen.”

If you have some available, sprinkle the crown with holy water, then crown Mary.

End by praying a “Hail Mary” together, and/or by singing an appropriate Marian hymn. 

Bishop Malloy’s Letter (Updated 5/13/20)