LEETONIA, Ohio (WKBN) – It’s been almost a month since Catholic churches were allowed to resume public services, but they must do so under COVID-19 guidelines.
On Sunday, about 60 people attended mass at Saint Patrick’s Catholic Church in Leetonia. That is about half the amount of people compared to a normal Sunday before the pandemic.
“We have roped off every other pew for seating so as to keep social distancing,” said Father Bob Edwards of Saint Pat’s.
Some of the people who attended wore masks.
There is also a bottle of hand sanitizer inside the main doors.
They aren’t using alter servers and only the priest and the deacon may hand out communion.
“The priest and the deacon are using masks when the people come up for holy communion,” Father Bob said.
Before the pandemic, they didn’t have a daily mass, only one on Sunday.
Now, they’ve started a mass on Tuesday evenings at 6:30 p.m.
“We’ve seen people come during the week that wouldn’t come on Sunday and, yes, it’s been favorably received,” Father Bob said.
Traditionally, people would give a sign of peace with a handshake and all the bowls filled with holy water would be around the church, but right before publicly celebrated masses were suspended, those were changed.
“We had taken the holy water away and we had changed the sign of peace to a wave,” said Father Bob.
While it does feel like some sense of normalcy, Father Bob wants people not to get into a false sense of security.
“We still need to be careful to wash our hands, keep our distance, wear our masks as the CDC recommends,” he said.
But he also says people are happy to be back.
“Some of them have been in tears to come back when they first came back,” Father Bob said.