Local Catholic churches reshaping their masses

WWNY Local Catholic churches reshaping their masses

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - Larger religious gatherings won't resume in New York state until at least the end of June. Meanwhile, local Catholic churches are preparing for some changes in their masses.

Pews are taped off at Watertown's Holy Family Church. Father John Demo, the church's pastor, says some of it could be coming down soon.

"We're looking at reopening the church for public worship in a matter of weeks," he said.

They're not going it alone. The Diocese of Ogdensburg has given guidelines to its parishes, including Holy Family Church.

Bishop Terry LaValley says the diocese worked with health officials to set the standards.

"Face masks and safe distance, 6 feet distance from the person next to you. Those will become reality for our parishes," he said.

Churches will also set a cap on how many people can attend a mass. Demo says it's a change because he's used to inviting people in.

"It's going to be a little bit different situation for us to handle in terms of - with the possibility of having to turn some people away," he said.

Holy water receptacles used for public use will remain dry while COVID-19 restrictions are in place. But, there is an option for people who want to use holy water in the home or privately.

"This holy water container is for people to have an opportunity to get holy water for use in their home," said Demo.

Communion will also be done differently. Drinking from the chalice has been put on hold and it's advised the consecrated bread be placed on a person's hand, not the tongue.

"Those are tough decisions, but we need to make them for the common good," said LaValley.

A list of all guidelines can be found at the Diocese of Ogdensburg’s website.

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