From our Diocesan Lawyer: Does the face covering requirement apply in churches and places of worship? • No. The free exercise of religion is exempted from the face covering requirement. However, to protect the health and safety of faith leaders, staff, congregants and visitors, religious organizations and houses of worship are encouraged to consult and follow the recommended practices and guidelines from the Illinois Department of Public Health. Religious organizations are encouraged to take precautions for their congregants and visitors to ensure physical distancing, the use of face coverings, and implementation of other public health measures. As Pope Francis has said wearing masks and getting the vaccine is a Pro Life issue!