St. Anne’s Mayor says Church service can resume Sunday, Churches ignore him


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A local mayor has ended his community’s stay-at-home order for local Churches. 

St. Anne Mayor David O’Connell announced the village would not close any churches that chose to meet just one day into May’s stay-at-home order in Illinois.

“I am stating that all our Churches, the Baptist Church, Catholic Church and the Presbyterian Church are free to start having services again as soon as this Sunday. The Village will not interfere with any church service.” O’Connell announced via Facebook Friday night.

The announcement undercuts State officials trying to contain a pandemic and hundreds of health workers at AMITA St. Mary’s and Riverside Healthcare trying to fight the virus. While simultaneously dishonoring the now 29 lives lost to COVID-19 in O’Connell’s home County, Kankakee.

As of Saturday night, not one of the three area Churches seemed to agree with his cause.

First Baptist Church of St. Anne followed up the statement Saturday in a “Response to Mayor David O’Connell’s post”  that services on Sunday will continue online as elders will meet to consider the Mayor’s proposal for the following week. 

“Please know that the idea of quarantine was always to “flatten the curve”. This is code for extending the cases over a manageable period of time. The danger from COVID-19 is still very much with us,” said First Baptist of St. Anne said Saturday.  “States that reopened in the last week or so, like Georgia, have seen spikes in their COVID cases (Georgia saw 1,000 cases in one day).”

Pastor Mike of First Presbyterian Church of St. Anne said Saturday afternoon, “After consulting with the church elders we have decided it would be in everyone’s best interests’ to delay our reopening until a later date.”

At St. Anne Catholic Church, parishioners seemed unfazed by the announcement.  All services per Diocese of Joliet have been suspended but continue to allow curbside communion during the pandemic. 

Kankakee County is already well versed in the dangers of communal infection. It currently plays host six long-term care facilities which on Saturday combine for 88 cases and 12 deaths.  That does not include the State run Shaprio facility which hosts over 100 COVID-19 cases, along with the National Guard.

 “It is my belief that we need Gods guidance in our lives more than ever at this time,” O’Connell said Friday.

At this time, all his local churches seem to agree with him in that stance, but understand dangers a pandemic plays in the community. The churches will continue worship through an online-only forum.

Shane Saathoff
Shane Saathoff
An active writer for two decades, Shane's focuses on local news and events throughout the area, Shane is an active historian, science nerd, and tech geek. Shane is a native of Bourbonnais, IL, and alumni of Olivet Nazarene University.


  1. David O’Connell refers to this as the “flu.” IT IS NOT INFLUENZA. This virus is 10 X’s DEADLIER than the flu. At least 28 people have DIED in this county in the last month from COVID-19. 28 people did NOT die last month in Kankakee County from the flu. Think about this. Americans like to pride themselves on being “the greatest” at everything. Each and every adult, regardless of political affiliation, needs to take a cold, hard look at themselves as people and how they have reacted to this tragic event. The reason that we ended up with the highest number of cases and DEATHS in the world in numbers much higher than China and India, which have populations of 1.4 Billion in comparison with our 350M, is the American culture of arrogance, narcissism, and selfishness. Nothing is really happening unless it’s actually happening to you. Having the right to do something doesn’t always make it the right thing to do.

    • To Mad As Hell,you should be mad as hell for what has been perpetrated on this country. There are far deadlier diseases than covid 19! We don’t stop everything when homicides happen,far more people get killed every year by murder,far more people are killed by cancer,far more people are killed in accidents, and unborn infants are murdered in the womb,the same can be said for drug and alcohol related deaths! Yes when it happens to you your immediate world comes to a halt. But the rest of America moves on so you will have a place to fit back in and recover,because you cannot live in self pity and expect to thrive again . This idea that you put forth that America is arrogant,narcissistic and selfish is only describing a victim class of weak minded folks. These folks choose to live in fear and don’t believe that your neighbor might be living in victory,maybe they don’t complain like you,maybe they just shrug it off and keep going or maybe they are able to thank God in the midst of misery and say something like “some one might be worse off than I am so I’d rather count my blessings and thank God I live in America !” As far as Mayor O’Connell is concerned he did the right thing and telling his towns churches to continue on with worship services . I’m going to guess he knows the Constitution and what the first amendment stands for. We live in a Constitutional Republic which means we are governed by the Constitution not by a monarch or dictator or tyrant,governors,mayors judges and Presidents cannot supercede any part of the Constitution! And therefore viruses or other diseases cannot stop America! The Mayor just informed those churches they could proceed with worship services knowing they will do so responsibly. Our governor over stepped his authority granted him by the United States Constitution which he swore an oath to uphold. Americans will do the right thing when things get rough. I along with my wife pray every night at 8pm for our nation,elected officials,church leaders family,neighbors,and friends. Now we will include you “MAD AS HELL “on that list . 2Tim says “for God hath not given you the spirit of fear: but of power,and love,and of a sound mind . vs 9 continues “Who hath saved us with an holy calling,not according to our works,but according to His own purpose and grace,which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began “. If you need Jesus in your life we will pray for you to receive Him into your heart right now! In Jesus’ name. Amen

  2. Wow, Carl. You really draw a lot of assumptions about people, don’t you? You don’t know me, but you drew a number of snap judgements on me, which I feel is one of our big problems in the current cultural climate. I have always considered myself to be patriotic. I fly the American flag in front of my home when many people are ashamed to, or just don’t care. I consider myself a moderate. My politics do not fall neatly into either party line and I never vote a straight ticket. I’m very disenchanted with people on both sides of the aisle. We are a very divided nation that is not going in the right direction, because everyone digs in with their “side’s” rhetoric and doesn’t work together to find any common ground, so nothing is accomplished by our legislators. I grieve over poverty, murder, cancer and abortion; murder and abortion are tied to societal, moral and ethical issues that are extremely challenging in the modern world. I wish Atheism and worse yet, Antitheism were not on the rise in this country. What we are facing right now is a deadly CONTAGION that if people were left to their own devices without leadership, would have completely broken our healthcare system, and in some places, it already has. There is an asymptomatic shedding of this virus that I don’t think people understand the ramifications of. Hence, the need for face coverings and social distancing. Why in the world are face coverings during a pandemic such a point of contention for people? Just do it! Social distancing is hard even if you aren’t purposely gathering with other people, so staying home is safer. I wish people could be trusted to do the right thing, but people went into denier mode from the get-go, and this thing got shrouded with politics very early on. There were predictions made in international media that Americans would not handle this well because of our culture of obsession with individual liberties and lack of compliance, and they were right. ‘Nobody’s going to tell ME what to do, even if it’s what’s better for me and the rest of society.’ Worst in the world in this situation, and that’s not a point of pride. I am “mad as hell” about the inconsistent, un-proactive way this was handled. It has uncovered a lot of flaws in our society and unpreparedness for crises. I am aggrieved about the loss of life, and the devastating effects on the economy and people’s lives, the extent of which is unknown and yet to play out, but we already had serious problems with a shrinking middle class, poverty and homelessness, in a country that shouldn’t have people living under bridges and viaducts, not with the number of millionaires and billionaires we have. Things will never be the same. Should they be the same? Is this a message that we are not going in the right direction? This is a tragedy in every sense of the word, but I think without the stay-at-home orders, the death toll would be unmanageable and the widespread illness probably would have wreaked havoc on our industrial economy anyway. We can’t know for sure, but I want people to consider that these things are being done to save lives, and not to stomp on our constitutional rights. The mixed reactions and messages of elected officials is taking it’s own toll on this situation. I want people to reflect on these things instead of their next party or cruise. And yes, I’m afraid. I do not want to contract this disease if I can at all avoid it, and I don’t want my loved ones to get it, either. I want to stay alive. I’m a sinner and a flawed human being with failings, and so are you. As for your assumption, CARL, that I am a heathen, I pray to Jesus all day, every day about this and a lot of other things, and I listen to my church’s services on the internet in the CURRENT circumstances, which is not ideal for all people, but is the prudent thing right now. Not forever, but now, until this crisis improves. We are right now in the peak of this crisis.

  3. Forgive me “MAD”it wasn’t my intention to offend you. You did leave enough information for me to deduce what you believe and stand for. There was no judging or assuming on my part. In your follow up comment you even gave more information that tells more about you than maybe you wanted to let out. We may be Americans and fly the flag but we may not believe in the precepts (or even understand America) .We may be Christian but not believers .There might be something in the Constitution that you don’t agree with which might cause you to look the other way or maybe you just don’t want to get involved. The same with God’s Word. There might be something in the Bible that just doesn’t seem right to you (or is too strict) or maybe God has offended you. Either way you will have to choose a path that cost you everything. After all God gave His only begotten Son that we might be saved and have everlasting life and also to have abundant life here in these United States. The same for our Founders,they pledged their lives their fortunes and their sacred honor that we might be blessed with this great nation to which God entrusted us with to cherish it and keep it and pass it on to our posterity. President John Adams once said “This constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other “. The same goes for the Bible. God warned us that if we pursue other gods (money,the love of,sports gods, cars,in this case a virus) it will take our mind off Christ and lead us to certain destruction and along with that,fear which weakens us so that we give in to sin,or viruses. You are right to state that it’s sad that both sides of the aisle can’t get along. That’s because both sides believe they have the correct way to govern folks. On the “good” side it’s called righteousness on the “evil” side it’s called a reprobate mind. God makes that distinction in the Bible in Rom.1,and that covers all sin not just homosexuality. I’m bringing this up because you stated you are moderate. By saying that,you will accept some degree of untruthfulness or dishonestly to achieve a comfortable living. “Don’t bother me and I won’t bother you “. You are tolerant of them but when it comes down to it they won’t tolerate you if you don’t eventually give in to more dishonestly and untruthfulness. And hence you have the Progressives or Democrats etc etc. Yes there are some evil folks in the Republican party which makes them even worse. My personal challenge to you in the world of politics since you touched on it is this. Go to your computer and pull up party platforms from both parties and compare them. I suggest the 1848 Democratic party platform and the 1860 Republican party platform and pull up the platforms from both parties from 2016. Look at the similarities from 1848 to 2016 for the Dems and the same for 1860 to 2016 for the Repubs. When you get done get back with me if you want to. God made it very simple for us to decide which side to choose. Rev .3:15,16 says “I would thou wert cold or hot “…because thou art lukewarm or (moderate) He will spue you out of His mouth “.Now let’s get back to the heart of your comment about the this virus that has you so “mad” .There is no evidence that says that social distancing or lock downs have any effect on the disease decreasing it’s lethality. It decreases through time and exposure and that is the way it always happens,almost all diseases decrease with time. These type of viruses only manifest the more people are couped up. It’s ok and smart to limit your exposure but you can’t live in such fear that your life comes to a complete halt and those in government are not supposed to let everything grind to a halt. These viruses will return and people will have to deal with them again and again. We can never give up or shut things down again. You live smart and keep going. The devil wants us to stop everything and continue on in fear so that you depend on government in this case and not God for your existence. The devil will not give us a break. He will use viruses,crime,accidents,storms,and people in government to wear us out. Daniel 7:25 confirms this “and he shall speak great words against the most High and shall wear out the saints of the most High,and think to change times and laws: ” As for your assumption “MAD “that I thought you are a heathen you are mistaken. I just offered guidance in the form of God’s Word. Like you said and I thank you for pointing out the fact that I am a sinner. I don’t deserve heaven but I do thank God that Jesus paved the way so folks like you and I can make it in. We all get get off course once in a while and we need a nudge to get back on “the straight and narrow “. That was the only reason I “preached to you “and not because I thought you were a heathen. God loves us all,sinners,Republicans,Democrats,reprobates,if you’re human He loves you. He loves His creation and wants us all to succeed no matter what issues get in the way including viruses. You are I were blessed to be born in America no matter what it’s failings are. We overcome fear and we move forward and upward. I like what Ronald Reagan said in 1964,he said “there is no left or right,just up or down “.Well there you have it “MAD “.I think I touched on everything you brought up in your last comment. Stay safe and may your faith increase and you fear decrease!


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