The Bishop of the Diocese of Erie has given the go ahead for the churches to resume having public masses. However, there is a list of protocols each church must take.
The list of protocols is long, some are restrictions to entering and leaving the church, seating, communion rite and confirmations.
“The expectation is that they come in, go to their pew. When mass is over, using social distancing, they go directly to the parking lot to their cars.” said Bishop Lawrence Persico.
The list of protocols include using only every third pew and refraining from gathering in groups. Also, masses will be very simple. There will be no more than one lector, one server, one musician and one cantor. The Bishop says part of it is to do a slow, gradual opening.
“It’s not like everything is fine now because we are in the yellow phase. We can’t just go back to the way things were. They will see that the church is not the same it was back in January.” Bishop Persico said.
Saint George Roman Catholic Church will be opening its doors and following the guidelines.
“I think that he wants to take a very deliberate and cautious approach to this so that we can ensure the safety of our people. We also need to give people that access to their faith.” said Father Brian Vossler.
Father Vossler says that when people can come back to mass, it’s important for their personal connection to their faith and God.
“That is very important, that is very churches are listed as an essential business in that category. The Bishop made that point yesterday. It was not the governor that closed the churches down. It was the college of bishops of Pennsylvania.” Father Vossler said.
Bishop Persico says there is a great need to get back to masses. But, if necessary, he will suspend mass in Erie if we go back to the red phase, but not the entire diocese.
Public masses will begin on June 1st.