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Letter from Fr. Darrio

May 25, 2020:

Baby Steps.  A few at a time.  Based on the directives that have come from the Archdiocese, it will take some time to implement them for the eventual re-opening of St. Edna Church, but we have a good Team of volunteers lined up and ready to get started with the process of receiving Certification from the Archdiocese in order to re-open.  Hopefully this will be soon for Weddings, Funeral, Baptisms and Reconciliation (no more than 10 people in Church at a time).  After this, we will look at re-opening our Church for Private Prayer on a daily basis for a few hours each day, again with no more than 10 people at a time allowed inside (and for no more than 20 minutes per person).  Every other pew will be roped off to assure social distancing and markers will be placed on the open pews so people stay at least 6 feet apart.  People will be allowed in only from the Main Portico Entrance and will have to exit from the doors at the West end of the Narthex.  Only one washroom will be available, the others will be locked and unavailable for use.  Thank you for your patience and your understanding during this re-opening process.  What we need to remember is this:  we’re not in a race to be the first Church to re-open.  St. Edna will re-open gradually so we can be sure that the building you are returning to will be a SAFE and SANITARY place for you to pray and worship in.

A good number of parishioners have volunteered to be part of our re-opening Team.  All of them are going through Webinar training.  The Archdiocese is also allowing those over the age of 65 (even those with health issues) to be part of our re-opening Team as long as they understand the health risks involved and go through the required Webinar training.  Please let me know if you would like to be part of this effort.  We will need MANY volunteers, especially for the eventual phase of re-opening for weekday and Sunday masses.  This will be when Cardinal Cupich grants permission based on CDC Guidelines and State of Illinois directives (maybe sometime in June, and most likely only 10 people, at first, at each mass).  If you are interested in being on our Team, please read the link on our website titled: St. Edna Re-Opening Plan for more information and let me know if you’d like to help.

People have been stopping by to pray before the Blessed Mother shrine that has been set up during the month of May.  The shrine is visible from the sidewalk outside the north windows of the Holy Family Statue niche.  A beautiful statue of Mary, surrounded by flowers, candles and multiple framed images of the Blessed Mother are displayed.  People have also been leaving flowers by the bronze MARY, MOTHER OF HOPE statue near the main entrance of the Church.  Feel free to come and pray on the sidewalk near these windows.  Please follow social distancing requirements.

For those who would like to pray before the Blessed Sacrament, please know that our original St. Edna Tabernacle (with the Blessed Sacrament inside) is positioned in the east window of the Holy Family Shrine niche.  Feel free, day or night, to walk to the outdoor Mary, Mother of Hope Statue (where the pond used to be) and you will be able to see the Tabernacle through the window to your right.  Stop for a while, kneel (or stand), and pray.  Please know that this space is not meant for public gatherings, but for private prayer.  We must comply with physical distancing directives.  After May, we will position the tabernacle in the NORTH window (where the statue of Mary is now).

Our terrific Outreach Ministry has given us a request:  They are in need of ADDITIONAL groceries.  What people have been dropping off has been wonderful, but the shelves are quickly emptying.  So they ask all of us who drop off groceries, to please add a little extra to keep our Outreach Ministry going. Please keep placing groceries in the covered storage bins between the benches near OFFICE ENTRANCE (Door #6).  Our maintenance crew brings the food into the building each morning.  Outreach food DISTRIBUTION takes place SATURDAY MORNINGS, from 9 a.m. until noon. 

The Easter Season ends this coming Sunday, May 31st with the Feast of Pentecot.  I hope it has been a Season of new life for you, in spite of (or maybe because of) this pandemic we are all living through.

Our entire St. Edna Campus continues to remain LOCKED AND UNAVAILABLE FOR PRIVATE PRAYER and REGULAR CHURCH BUSINESS at least through Saturday, May 30th.  Our June Baptisms will be private baptisms with no more than 10 people present at each one.  The First Communions scheduled for May 2nd will be rescheduled to late August or early September (or both).   Summer Vacation Bible School (VBS) has been cancelled for this year, but Heather Daudelin (our Director or Religious Education) is working on a Virtual VBS for people to attend.  The dates for NEXT YEAR’S VBS on our St. Edna campus will be June 21-25, 2021.  The CATHOLIC HEART WORK CAMP that our teens would have been participating in this June has been cancelled nationwide.  Our “Taste of St. Edna” outdoor Fest on our parking lot (with a band, beer tent, games for the kids and plenty of food) has been cancelled for 2020 and will be held on a Saturday in June of 2021 instead.  SNACK Theater has moved their wonderful performances to November 13th, 14th, 20th, 21st and 22nd of this year (2020).

Outside of Office Entrance Door #6 (mounted on the brick column) is a security/mail/drop box for you to place your weekly donation envelopes in.  Thank you everyone!  Your generosity has been wonderful and amazing.  You can still mail your envelopes in to us, if that is easier for you, or you might want to possibly consider electronic giving, if that is easier.  There is a Give Central link on our website (it is safe!) for those who are considering electronic giving.  Our Sunday collections are very close to budget.  Thank you!  If you can help us get our Easter Collection close to the budgeted amount, that would be great.  I am very grateful for your extra sacrifices.

Sunday Mass from St. Edna continues to be available each weekend on our website and on Facebook.  We’ll continue to make these masses available, even when the Church re-opens, for a few weeks.  At each of these Sunday masses, we pray a Spiritual Communion, for those at home unable to physically receive the Body and Blood of Christ.  Be sure, too, to read the DECREE (on our website) from Cardinal Cupich that he issued on Palm Sunday, relieving us this year, of the obligation to physically receive Holy Communion during the Easter Season and he has now extended this dispensation until further notice. Additionally, several other Mass options are available on TV and on-line for you to consider.  A whole list of them are mentioned on the home page of our website.  Various prayer options are also listed, one of them being the LITTLE WHITE BOOKS available to you on our website each day.  Click on that link for a beautiful daily reflection.  There is also an on-line ALPHA program that you can be part of as an added way of drawing closer to Jesus Christ. Take a look each day at the Archdiocese of Chicago website for the latest information regarding decisions that we must abide by.  On their website you can also click on the link to view daily mass from Holy Name Cathedral.

Repairs on the north half of the parking lot are now completed but the predicted rains are preventing seal-coating and striping of all the parking lots to take place.  Your continued generosity to this parish (and to the Annual Catholic Appeal) allow these repairs to be carried out.  Thank you so much!  Last Winter’s weather really took a toll on the parking lot, increasing repair costs, so if you are able to help fund these extra costs, that too would be wonderful.

Keep praying for an end to this global pandemic and pray for a vaccine/cureKeep praying for those in the medical “front lines” who are really struggling right now.  Some of them are our parishioners.

Take the Stay-At-Home Order seriously.  Follow all safety precautions to keep yourselves well.  Don’t lose hope!  Things should improve soon.  As the disciples of the Risen Lord awaited His next appearance to them and the eventual coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, we unite ourselves with them as we await the re-opening of our Church in gradual stages.

Queen Elizabeth of England said seven weeks ago, “I hope in the years to come, everyone will be able to take pride in how they responded to this challenge”.  Her sentiments are good ones.  Do your part now.  Don’t panic.  Be not afraid.  Continue acting with grace and dignity.  Keep praying.  This pandemic will end, and when it does, what a wonderful and joyous thing it will be to gather together again, in worship, as the Faith Community of St. Edna Parish.

Thanks for your continued prayers for me and for our Staff.  You are in OUR prayers (and in my private masses).  May Christ, our Risen Lord, continue to bless us.Fr. Darrio