OWENSBORO, Ky. (WFIE) - The Catholic Diocese of Owensboro announced earlier this week that public Masses can resume with restrictions on May 20.
St. Stephens Cathedral is working hard to make sure its parishioners feel safe coming back to Mass, and the precautions all start with sanitizing and disinfecting the entire cathedral.
During Catholic Mass, every other pew will be roped off to help practice social distancing, and anyone who attends will have to wear a mask.
St. Stephens Cathedral usually can hold around 500 people, but with social distancing in effect, in-person services will only have room for 200 parishioners, if the cathedral utilizes the space in its community center.
“We miss our church family terribly,” parishioner Carl Lewis said. “Nothing beats getting together as a community of believers.”
Parishes will also need to clean and disinfect their churches after every Mass, which will decrease the number of available opportunities for parishioners.
“We’re going to have to have more time in between masses, so during the week we’re going to start by only having the noon Mass,” Father Jerry Riney said.
One of the things many parishioners are looking forward to is holy communion.
“Communion is kind of a way of offering thanksgiving for the week past and refueling for the week going forward,” Lewis said.
“The priests will wear a facial covering, and the recipient of holy communion will wear a facial covering.” Father Riney said. “They will receive in the hand, so if someone does not feel comfortable, then they could make a spiritual communion.”
“Since I made my first holy communion when I was 7-years-old, you know, that has just been such a gift,” parishioner Maire McCormick said. “But I’ve come to appreciate it a lot more during all of this."
Father Riney says
Although there are guidelines, Father Riney says there has to be room for flexibility, as the cathedral does its best to keep everyone safe, and thank God for the lessons everyone has learned while they were apart.
“I think we realize more how we depend on one another, as the whole body of Christ, as a community, so I don’t think we will take that for granted,” Riney said.