Catholic churches on the Suncoast reopening for mass on Monday

Catholic churches on the Suncoast reopening for mass on Monday
Catholic churches reopening with restrictions. (Source: WWSB)

VENICE, Fla. (WWSB) - The seats of Epiphany Cathedral in Venice and other catholic churches will soon have some parishioners sitting in them. Catholic churches will be reopening their doors for mass with 25 percent capacity. People will also have to wear face masks and social distance.

“We have the pews with our logo on it telling them where they can sit, at either end of the pews," said Father Jack Costello, Rector for Epiphany Cathedral. "Couples may be at each end and there are two pews in between for social distancing.”

Church of Hope is another one of the churches starting in-house services in the coming days. While some churches are reopening, many other houses of worship will remain shut down and continue to rely on their virtual services.

“We don’t anticipate opening our doors in the near future, we have been considering it, thinking about all the possibilities," said Rabbi Elaine Rose Glickman with Temple Emanu-El. "The pros of being able to be together, to gather together in person and the difficulty remaining apart physically from one another.”

Dr. Chip Bennett, Lead Pastor for Grace Community Church, says they are having success with doing their services online and with a drive-thru worship. He tells ABC7, he’s not anywhere near ready to open his church because of safety concerns.

“We felt like if we can get everybody to stay at home and we can give them a quality experience with God and church in their house, that’s better for everybody," said Bennett. "Then what we’ll do is reevaluate how we open.”

Other measures Catholic churches will be utilizing includes parishioners having to use sanitizer and when they receive communion it will only be done with their hands and not their mouths. Churches and many parishioners are counting the days.

“It’s very exciting, parishioners have been waiting,” said Costello.

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