Public church services and celebrations of Mass at Archdiocese of Chicago Catholic churches will be suspended as of Saturday evening, Cardinal Blase Cupich said Friday, to "take the better part of caution in order to slow the spread of this [coronavirus] pandemic."
Cupich said that weddings and funerals already scheduled for Saturday may proceed as long as no more than 250 people attend, per the directive issued by Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker.
Cupich asked that archdiocesan churches remain open for private prayer "during a time frame best determined by each pastor." In addition, televised and online Masses will be made available.
Pastors have been asked to limit staff in parishes and maintain "a heightened focus on disinfecting all areas of common use."
“This was not a decision I made lightly,” Cupich said. “The Eucharist is the source and summit of our life as Catholics. And our schools and agencies provide essential services to many thousands across Cook and Lake Counties. But, in consultation with leaders from across the archdiocese, for the sake of the safety of our students, parishioners, and all the women and men who serve the people of the archdiocese, it is clear that we must take the better part of caution in order to slow the spread of this pandemic.”
Earlier on Friday, the Archdiocese of Chicago announced Friday that all archdiocesan Catholic schools in Cook and Lake counties will close beginning Monday as coronavirus cases in Illinois continue to rise.