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CHICAGO, Illinois, April 24, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Two weeks ago on Good Friday a small group of Catholics prayed outside Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago as a way of expressing their desire for churches to be deemed “essential” during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Lisa Bergman, the head organizer of that event who runs St. Augustine Academy Press, appeared yet again outside the cathedral today at 12 pm noon to pray the rosary. But this time, she was joined by more than 30 Catholics, including long-time pro-life activists Joe Scheidler and his wife Ann, the President and Vice President of Pro-life Action League, respectively.
Earlier this week, the three co-authored a letter imploring Chicago’s Archbishop, Cardinal Blase Cupich, to ask Democratic Governor J.B. Pritzker to “strike down unreasonable restrictions that make it virtually impossible for Catholics to practice their religion” during the coronavirus outbreak (read the full letter below).
At the prayerful gathering today, one woman brought a sign that read, “Cardinal Cupich: Please Restore the Sacraments.” A statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary was placed in front of the doors of the cathedral while laity prayed on their knees. Bergman said police passed by on multiple occasions but never stopped, and that several people smiled at or gave a thumbs-up as they walked past.
Scheidler and his wife informed LifeSite that they reached out to Cupich’s office to try and schdule a meeting in the coming days to discuss their ideas. Scheidler said that the rosary today was “not a protest” but “a celebration” of an expectation that Governor Pritzker will allow the re-opening of churches, given that they follow all social distancing guidelines.
Bergman told LifeSite via email that “the reason this country exists…is because men and women were willing to give up everything in order to worship God the way they believed He wanted them to.”
“Our faith,” she added, “really is just as important as the food we eat and the air we breathe.”
Below is the letter the three sent to Cardinal Cupich.
April 22, 2020
Your Eminence Blase Cardinal Cupich
Archbishop of Chicago
Dear Cardinal Cupich,
It has now been six weeks since the celebration of Mass in our parish churches was suspended, along with the celebration of all sacraments. I’m sure this has been as painful to you as it is to us.
To have to settle for watching Palm Sunday Mass and Easter Sunday Mass on television or computer was particularly sad. We are thankful that at least those opportunities were available.
But we Catholics need to get back to a real, present Mass and to receive Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. In some dioceses parking lot Masses have been authorized. Many of our churches are large enough that we could easily follow the social distancing protocols and advise those at greater risk to refrain from attendance. Perhaps you have a plan in mind already. Thank you so much for the arrangement for specially trained priests to minister to the sick and dying.
We are coming to you as the leader of the Church of Chicago to ask for help. We implore you to ask the Governor JB Pritzker to ease restrictions so that the Church can minister to her people in whatever safe way can be worked out.
April 29th is the feast day of St. Catherine of Siena, who famously convinced Pope Gregory XI to return to Rome, and who interceded with secular authorities in peace negotiations. Let us pray for the intercession of St. Catherine to get our churches open again,
We would appreciate the opportunity to speak with you about these concerns. Our phone numbers and email addresses are included below.
Respectfully in Christ,
Joseph M. Scheidler
St. Augustine Academy Press