Public Catholic masses allowed to resume

Published: May. 15, 2020 at 5:18 PM CDT
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For the first time in weeks, public Catholic mass can resume across South Dakota. The dioceses suspended the in-person services in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It's been two months since mass was held at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Sioux Falls.

"It's just wonderful to be back,” said Father Charles Cimpl.

For those returning to church they'll notice some changes.

"There are no like prayer books or missals in the pews because just like restaurants now are using throw away menus or menus are only used once, the same thing we're doing. So we have screens, so the music will be put up on the screens,” said Father Cimpl.

Also, every other pew has been blocked off to help with social distancing. Sanitizing is being done after each service.

Father Cimpl says he is excited to see familiar faces back at church.

"Oh it's amazing. I even noticed in greeting the people leaving today there were a number of tears because they just haven't been able to be at mass in a couple of months and especially they missed receiving the holy eucharist,” said Father Cimpl.

Other churches like St. Bernard's Catholic Church in Redfield are also preparing for public mass.

"I think as most people have come to realize as much as you try to do things digitally, it just isn't the same as being face-to-face or being able to be around the people that you love,” said Father Tom Anderson.

Father Anderson is confident that there's enough measures in place to keep everyone safe.

"People who come to mass will be bringing their own hand sanitizer, so they can purify their hands. There will be no handshaking and people won't be able to dip their hands in holy water as they come in as is normal,” said Father Anderson.

Communion will also be different and socially-distant.

“People will be able to come up and maintain a six feet distance from each other as they approach. I'll take off my outer garment, put on a mask, hand sanitize before I distribute communion,” said Father Anderson.

While churches are doing all they can to stay safe, they ask that churchgoers do the same.

The pastors want to remind people that there is no rush to return to church. Masses will still be recorded for those who do not feel well or do not feel comfortable attending.

While churches are welcome to resume in person mass, not all of them are going to right away. It is up to the individual pastors to decide when they believe is the safest and best time to do so.