Celebrating mass during the coronavirus crisis, churches adapt to lifestreams, no communion

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Cardinal Blasé Cupich will celebrate mass at Holy Name Cathedral with just a couple of other people on the altar, and nothing but television cameras in the pews.

This is church in the age of COVID-19, and receiving the sacrament of communion virtually impossible. Father Jesse Perkins of St. Michael's Church in Barrington was planning a drive-up service this weekend, until the health department put a stop to it Thursday.

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"They just asked us not to create an incentive for people to leave their homes because we want people to stay home and healthy and stop the spread of this thing," Perkins said.

Former Chicago Bear Israel Idonije now owns a company called Blessed Communion.

It offers sealed wafers and wine, juice or water, which is virtually never exposed to human touch or outside air - keeping it safe from the virus. His customers include many Baptist Churches, but he says his business has doubled in the last few weeks.

"You peel it off and it exposes the host for the first time," Idonije said.

"I truly at my core believe at the end of this, although there will be a new normal, as a community, people will be closer together," Idonije said.

Even though many Christians will observe Holy Week beginning with Palm Sunday leading up to Easter, Father Perkins said the main concern health officials have is giving people any reason to leave their homes during this time of shelter in place, even for church.

"We are kind of in exile so to speak ... have to give up things for Lent we never expected, a Lent like no other," Perkins said.

While it will be some time before this congregation and all others can worship together in person, most are praying it will be soon.
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