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Catholic Mass to resume in Capital Area with new safety measures

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BATON ROUGE- After several weeks of pandemic-relates closures and virtual services, Mass will resume in most Baton Rouge Catholic churches this weekend in compliance with 'Phase One' of the state's reopening plan.

Church services following the global outbreak of COVID-19 will look much different than it did before. 

With limited seating, St. Jean Vianney is keeping its congress safe by allowing parishioners to attend Mass in a new way.

"We're asking that everyone who comes to mass, masks," Deacon Dan Borne said.

St. Jean Vianney set up a drive-thru ticket system for members to reserve seats on the pews in advance.

Each service is listed and color-coded at a booth outside of the church for parishioners to pick up tickets and plan ahead. There are five different Mass options for this weekend, the first opportunity to gather together since April.

The church is only allowed 25% capacity in this first phase of the governor's reopening plan. 

Borne says for St. Jean Vianney, that 25% capacity rate allows for 250 people inside.

Pews will be spread six feet apart in all directions.

"And we have some spacers, or some sliders, that we will slide along the pews to make sure that people are six feet apart," Deacon Borne said.

As for Holy Communion, Borne says there will not be a communal cup in this first reopening phase. 

Rather than twelve communion stations, there will only be three.

"We'll be distributing Holy Communion in the form of the precious body," Borne said.

Making peace with your neighbor will require no touching. Deacon Borne suggests a simple nod, wave, wink, or bow.

While the new state guidelines under 'Phase One' require more of a distant gathering in church services, Deacon Borne says they are just looking forward to welcoming parishioners back.


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