CHICAGO, Illinois, April 30, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Catholics in the city of Chicago have formed an organziation called the St. Charles Borromeo Society for the purpose of getting churches in their archdiocese to re-open their doors. They have also launched a website called OpenOurChurches.org.
Today’s announcement is the culmination of several weeks of prayerful, peaceful activism by lay Catholics in the Chicagoland area.
On Good Friday three weeks ago, Lisa Bergman, owner of St. Augustine Academy Press, organized Stations of the Cross outside Holy Name Cathedral as a way of expressing their desire that churches be considerd “essential” during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Last week on Friday, April 24, Bergman, with help from Joe and Ann Scheidler of Pro-Life Action League, was joined by more than 30 Catholics in praying the rosary at the same locaton. One woman brought a sign that read, “Cardinal Cupich: Please Restore the Sacraments.”
Ann Scheidler forwarded LifeSite the letter she, her husband, and Bergman sent to Chicago archbishop Blase Cupich asking him to intervene with Governor Pritzker so restrictions on churches could be lessened.
The letter reads, in part, “We Catholics need to get back to a real, present Mass and to receive Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament…many of our churches are large enough that we could easily follow the social distancing protocols.”
However, the trio was recently informed by Cupich’s office that he is not able to meet with them to discuss their ideas.
“After careful review and consideration, the Cardinal regrets that this is not an opportune time for such a meeting,” an email from Gabriela Zepeda reads.
The St. Charles Borromeo Society plans to pray at Holy Name Cathedral every Friday at 12 noon until churches are once again open. They urge other Catholics to launch similar efforts in their own dioceses.
A Catholic group in the Diocese of Joliet has scheduled a candlelight vigil at 7:00 P.M. on May 1 at St. Raymond Cathedral.
More information is available at OpenOurChurches.org.
Read the press release in full below.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Chicago Catholics to Gather at Holy Name Cathedral to Pray for Churches to Open
Lay Group Expresses Disappointment at Cardinal's Refusal to Meet with Them on Reopening Plan
Contact: Joe Scheidler, (773) 724-1166; Lisa Bergman, [email protected]
CHICAGO, April 30, 2020 – Chicago Catholic laity under the banner of the newly-formed St. Charles Borromeo Society will gather in front of Holy Name Cathedral at State and Superior Streets at noon, Friday, May 1, to pray for a reopening of the churches in the Archdiocese of Chicago. All social distancing mandates will be followed.
The group contacted Blase Cardinal Cupich to ask him to intervene with Governor J.B. Pritzker to ease restrictions so that churches could begin to open. They also requested a meeting with the Cardinal to come up with a plan to make Mass and the sacraments available to the faithful.
The Cardinal’s reply to the request was that “after careful review and consideration, the Cardinal regrets that this is not an opportune time for such a meeting.”
“When would be an opportune time?” asks Joseph Scheidler, one of the organizers of the prayer gathering at the Cathedral. “We are desperately in need of spiritual leadership during this pandemic and that is sorely lacking in the Archdiocese of Chicago,” said Scheidler.
“In some dioceses across the country bishops have authorized parking lot Masses with attendees staying in their cars,” said Scheidler. “Those who have been locked out of their churches for over six weeks are anxious for a plan — to know when and how their churches will come back to life.”
The St. Charles Borromeo Society plans to pray at Holy Name every Friday at noon until the churches are once again open. They also urge other Catholics to launch similar efforts in their own dioceses. For information on the project, visit OpenOurChurches.org. A similar group in the Diocese of Joliet will hold a candlelight vigil at 7:00 pm on May 1, at St. Raymond Cathedral.