Peek-a-boo, I see you. The Church Cautiously Re-opens.
St. Rita Parish, where I am priest help, opened its doors to its first Sunday Mass Worshipers in months. I was there to welcome them in for the 7 am and 7:45 am Masses. It was great to have Mass with people again. I had begun to wonder if I was the last Catholic in America. Here are some random thoughts about the experience.
- Super organized with ten volunteers to give instructions, disinfect the place after Mass, usher folks to their appropriate spots maintaining social distancing. No frustrated hall monitors here. Everyone was welcoming and polite.
- We could only have ten attendees (not counting the volunteers). That was absolutely ridiculous. The church holds six hundred and a more common sense adaptation would have been to allow 25% capacity. I have a hunch we will move to that very soon. All that work for ten people is not reasonable particularly when you have to tell folks they didn’t make the cut to attend Mass.
- Mass went fine, homily and everything except singing, hand holding and the Sign of Peace. I didn’t miss the Sign of Peace or hand holding.
- As weird as it was, it was so much more satisfying than watching the Mass on TV–no way is that very sacramental. Gotta have the real Eucharist.
- A mask is intrusive for the priest. It’s on; it’s off; you’re not sure if it should be on or off, during various times of the Mass. For one thing, people can’t understand you when you try to talk through the mask. I have a very great appreciation for nurses who must wear these all day long.
We’re Back Somewhat, But The Bishops Will Decide When We Are Ready For Prime Time
All in all, not a bad experience. I’m just happy the Church is groaning and creaking again as it starts to open back up. I’m a little tired of people saying it’s not that big of a dea because after all, we are the Church. True. But people being deprived of the Eucharist is a very serious thing. There will be repercussions as many think over whether they missed it very much. We’ve had such bad Eucharistic teaching that I’m afraid some will just never come back. On the other hand, there are many who deeply missed the Eucharist. We we be a smaller Church but with more fervent and better Catholics? Remains to be seen.