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Chicago-based Catholic group urges prayer vigils across US to re-open churches
Stephen Kokx | May 21, 2020

Founded just weeks ago by Lisa Bergman and Joe and Ann Scheidler of Pro-Life Action League, the Chicago-based St. Charles Borromeo Society has expanded its focus from getting churches in the Chicagoland area to reopen to now serving as a nationwide resource for U.S. Catholics interested in getting churches in their own dioceses opened up again.

Bergman, a graduate of the University of Notre Dame, informed LifeSite that she’s been receiving messages from Catholics across the country who are interested in hosting prayer vigils in their areas.

“There were about 100 people at the Prayer Rally in front of St. Raymond’s Cathedral in Joliet last Friday evening,” Bergman said in an email. “There were also about 70 at Holy Name Cathedral [in Chicago] and there was a police car parked on the corner the whole time watching us…they never got out of the car.”

Thus far, laity in Georgia, Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan, and elsewhere have already held or are coordinating prayerful protests as a way to re-open churches.

On the St. Charles Borromeo Society’s website,, there is a growing database of the latest decrees dioceses across the United States have implemented regarding church closings and public Mass offerings. There is also an events page, a forum, and recommendations for how churches can safely re-open.

In her free time, Bergman, a wife and mother, runs St. Augustine Academy Press. On Good Friday last month, she organized the first prayerful protest outside Holy Name Cathedral. Its purpose was to draw attention to the fact that grocery and liquor stores were still open but churches were forced to close during the coronavirus outbreak. Fewer than a dozen people showed up. Two weeks later, however, on April 24, more than 30 Catholics prayed the rosary with her at the same location. On Friday, May 1, approximately 80 Catholics prayed outside Holy Name. Local Chicago media outlets have reported on the gatherings, which will continue, Bergman says, until churches in Chicago are reopened.

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The St. Charles Borromeo Society was originally established by Bergman and the Scheidlers to encourage Cardinal Blase Cupich to intervene with Illinois’s Democratic governor, J.B. Pritzker, to ease restrictions so churches in the archdiocese could re-open. Cupich had suspended all Masses in mid-March.

Although Cupich’s office refused to have a meeting with the group, the archdiocese announced last Friday, thanks to a new order issued by the governor, that Masses will be held in the near future, although no more than 10 people will be allowed to attend.

Today (May 8), the St. Charles Borromeo Society held a May Crowning ceremony of a Blessed Virgin Mary statue outside the cathedral.

Source: Life Site News


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