Parishes making changes due to COVID-19

Elyse Winter, News Writer

Deuteronomy 31:6 says, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Catholic parishes all over the nation are among the groups that have faced challenges as a result of the COVID-19 virus and have learned to adapt as adversity hits, meaning that as the church pushes forward with faith, changes are seen.

    Parishes have had to change their ways and also look ahead into the upcoming year to see the effects of COVID-19 and make changes. These changes are made to upkeep Mass and faith life, which is a task churches are more than willing to accept. 

    “All our area churches have gone to great lengths to ensure the health and safety of parishioners,” Xavier High School’s Campus Ministry Director Jodi Esker said. 

    As churches implement safety measures, parishioners are back in churches, and Xavier‘s Campus Ministry Director Jaclyn Richmond explains how the changes make parishioners, like herself, feel safer. 

    “Pews have been clearly marked for distancing, masks are being worn and there is hand sanitizer everywhere you look,” Richmond said. 

    While parishes have taken precautions to keep parishioners safe, they still have to deal with the decline in attendance at Mass, as well as online Mass becoming a prominent way in practicing faith. 

    According to the Pew Research Center, “Roughly one-in-eight U.S. adults (12%) say they attended religious services in person during the last month.”

    As the number of people in attendance at Mass decreases, and online Mass increases, Richmond looks into the positives of online Mass. 

    “It was a great opportunity to use the online Masses as teaching Masses so that we could talk through some of the things that were happening and different parts of the Mass,” Richmond said.

    While online and in person Mass may look different, parishes have gone to great lengths to achieve safe worshipping spaces, allowing the community to come together one way or another to practice in faith.