Return to mass light during first weekend of "Phase One"
BATON ROUGE – For the first time in months, people were able to walk inside church Sunday and sit down in the pews. During phase one of reopening the economy, which began on Friday, the Governor is allowing church services to be held inside at 25 percent capacity.
At St. Jean Vianney Catholic Church the return to mass was light.
“It's quiet a different experience, but familiar enough for people to feel at home,” said Father Tom Ranzino.
At the 9:30 mass around 60 people attended. At 11:30 that number dropped to around 20. Those that did go had to have a ticket before entering so church staff could keep up with numbers, some of the pews were blocked off and 6 ft. sliders were placed on the pews to establish social distancing.
“I'm excited and I'm cautious,” said Father Ranzino. “I'm excited to offer mass in front of people, but I'm cautious that this is for the long haul.”
The precautions helped put those who couldn't wait to attend mass again at ease.
“You just get accustom to going to mass every Sunday,” said a church goer.
“And you miss the people; it's not the same watching it online,” added his wife.
While some of the congregation was still being represented through pictures, Father Ranzino says many have been looking forward to this day for a while.
“I had a person leave mass today said for the last three and a half months, this is the most important hour she's spent. So I think the people that have come have felt a deep need here,” said Father Ranzino.
Though church doors have reopened, Bishop Michael Duca is still suspending obligation to attend mass. Bishop Duca is asking the elderly and those with underlying health conditions to stay at home. All masses are still being streamed on cable and online.
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