Archdiocese of Chicago closes its Catholic schools, suspends public celebrations of mass

Coronavirus

CHICAGO — The Archdiocese of Chicago is suspending all public celebrations of mass at its churches, in addition to closing all of its Catholic schools.

The suspension of mass will begin Saturday evening, March 14. Weddings and funerals scheduled for Saturday will proceed while observing the guidelines issued by Gov. JB Pritzker, where participating is limited to no more than 250 people.

Archdiocesan churches should remain open for private prayer during a timeframe best determined by each pastor, the archdiocese said in a statement.

“This was not a decision I made lightly,” said Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, archbishop of Chicago. “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.”

Catholic schools in Cook and Lake counties will be closed beginning Monday, March 16.

During this closure period, Catholic school students will be asked to complete academic work through electronic learning (“e-learning”) or alternative learning, according to the letter.

This decision extends to all regular operations, including all extra-curricular activities, social events and other school-related gatherings.

At this time, it is unknown how long the closures will last.

Officials said an extra cleaning of facilities will take place while school is not in session. 

This is a developing story. Check back for details.

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