Catholic bishops across Illinois announce church reopening plans as other religious groups mull way forward

Chicago Tribune

May 14, 2020

By Javonte Anderson and Katherine Rosenberg-Douglas

The Archdiocese of Chicago and other Catholic dioceses throughout the state announced phased plans to begin reopening Catholic churches, starting in Chicago with small gatherings for baptisms, weddings, funerals and confession as early as May 23.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker has been under increasing pressure in recent days as smaller churches have sued the state, trying to lift the almost two-month-old stay-at-home order’s application to religious gatherings. The governor added “free exercise of religion” as an essential activity to his revised stay-at-home order late April 30, after a rural church filed suit against the plan, and Catholic leaders soon after said they were working on a plan to reopen churches. The Catholic bishops reached an agreement with the state Wednesday, according to letters posted on their dioceses’ websites.

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