Coronavirus concern prompts low attendance at churches
BATON ROUGE – At St. Joseph Cathedral there was plenty of room in the pews as many seats were empty during Sunday mass. On Friday, Bishop Michael Duca gave Catholics in the Diocese of Baton Rouge a dispensation from attending mass for the next 30 days because of the coronavirus.
"Frankly, I was sort of surprised that we had as many as we did because this is an older congregation,” said Linda Lightfoot who decided to attend the 10:30 morning mass. “I was really conflicted if I should come. But I thought I'm in good health so I’ll come.”
This decision comes after the Governor halted gatherings of more than 250 people in the state.
“If we act now, it might be a blessing to all of us down the line,” said Bishop Duca. “We have a disease that comes from an individual, so our act of charity in this case is to protect everyone.”
Bishop Duca is also asking Catholics to wave during the sign of peace instead of shaking hands, and go without the Blood of Christ during Communion.
Under 100 people attended the mass that usually hosts 250 people.
St. Joseph streamed the mass on Facebook, and on Cox Channel 15. Other churches around the Capitol City, like First United Methodist Church, decided to only hold worship online.
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