We will no longer be taking reservations for attending Mass in-person at St. Patrick Church of Merna. When arriving at church for Mass, you will be able to request to sit in a certain section, then an usher will take you to an available pew. To allow plenty of time to seat everyone, we recommend arriving 15-20 minutes before Mass begins. Please be patient with our staff and volunteers as we adjust to this new way of seating! (St. Mary Church in Downs will continue taking reservations through Eventbrite at this time.)
We are offering limited capacity seating at the Saturday 4pm and Sunday 9am and 11am Masses. However, Bishop Jenky has dispensed the faithful from the Sunday obligation to attend Mass if you feel it is more prudent that you remain at home. All Masses will continue to be livestreamed on the Parish Facebook page.
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 to our Facebook Page and Website.
Here is what you need to know:
For the time being, Masses will remain at 4pm on Saturdays and 9am and 11am on Sundays. Daily Mass will be held at 7am on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and at 8:30am on Tuesday and Thursday.
COMING TO CHURCH:
- Please use your restroom at home before arriving. Our restrooms will be available for emergencies only.
- The nursery will be closed and Children’s Liturgy is temporarily suspended.
- 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.
- Please enter through the Main Church Doors (West entrance), to check in for Mass. Chapel Doors (North Entrance) will be locked.
- 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.
- When it is your turn, an Usher will greet you and take you to your 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, extend your arms forward without cupping your hands. The Eucharistic Minister will place the Consecrated host on the palm of your hand. Step aside, remove your mask, 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 & DRIVE-UP COMMUNION
If you are uncomfortable entering the building for Mass, we encourage you to still continue livestreaming Mass on our 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 “Drive- Up” Communion under portico. Please follow the directions of the Ushers to safely receive Communion.