The Archdiocese of Chicago Distributed the Following Guidelines and Policies on Funerals, Wakes and Viewings, and Committals to Clergy and Parish Staff
Given recent questions about funerals and wakes, it is important to clarify and reiterate current guidelines and policies, keeping in mind that those already issued by Cardinal Cupich on Friday, March 13, allow for funerals and other liturgies under certain conditions. These guidelines and policies are in effect until further notice.
- Funerals can proceed with immediate family members but should not exceed more than 10 people (this number is per CDC guidance as of Tuesday, March 17, and is in effect until further notice)
- If this condition is met, the funeral Mass must take place in the church
- It is strongly recommended that no one from a vulnerable population attend
- Social distancing (six feet) should be observed with attendees requested to sit apart
- No physical contact at any point; no physical Sign of Peace, while offering comfort, etc.
- If Holy Communion is distributed it is to be done so in the hand; please suspend the sharing of the common cup for the blood of Christ
- After the funeral Mass, the physical space within the church must be cleaned and sanitized.
Wakes and Viewings
- Viewings will only be conducted in cases when the body has been embalmed
- Wakes and visitation can proceed with immediate family members, but again should not exceed more than 10 people in attendance at any given time
- Social distancing (six feet) should be observed as much as possible
- Care should be taken to provide comfort to the bereaved without physical contact
- Hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes should be provided
- Funeral directors must consider how best to comply by the guidelines provided by the CDC and the Archdiocese of Chicago.
- The committal of the body should be done at the gravesite; again, with immediate family not to exceed 10 people.
No pre- or post-service social gathering is allowed in parish buildings or on parish property
Please share this information with pastoral sensitivity with funeral directors, bereavement ministry leaders, parish staff and parishioners. Every effort should be made to stress that these measures are designed out of love and care for all those in attendance, parish and funeral home staff, and those that are most vulnerable at this time. These stipulations are in line with the guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Illinois Department of Public Health and Chicago Department of Public Health.
We anticipate that we will be able to provide additional guidance for the celebration of other sacraments as things develop. I very much appreciate your patience and your commitment to the sacramental life of our Church and the needs of the people of God. I am praying for you and for all your parishioners.
Bishop Ron Hicks