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Peoria Bishop says Mass will resume for ‘many’ churches this week

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Peoria (HOI) -- Catholic churches in the Peoria Diocese will soon be reopening, Bishop Daniel Jenky said in a Facebook post.

Jenky said the churches must limit the attendance, follow social distancing and "strict protocols" for sanitizing.

Still, he says, "those who are vulnerable to infection or simply uncomfortable gathering in larger groups should know in these unusual circumstances they are under no obligation to attend Mass."

This comes as the Catholic church has worked with the state to come up with reopening plans for weeks. Gov. JB Pritzker (D, IL) has listed religious gatherings as "non-essential" thus far. But, as phase three of his reopening plan began late last week, he said houses of worship did not have to follow the guidance the state put out.

The stay-at-home order has been sued by several churches, alleging it infringes on first amendment rights protecting freedom of religion.

Gov. Pritzker has asked religious leaders to "do the right thing" to protect their congregation, which he says includes online and parking lot services.

Bobby Oler @bobbyoler

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