Parishes Reopening to Limited Capacity, Other Adjustments
ST. CLOUD -- Catholic churches in the St. Cloud Diocese will begin offering in-person daily and weekend masses starting Wednesday at 25 percent capacity or up to 250 people whichever is smaller.
Father Scott Pogatchnik at St. Mary's and St. Augustine's in St. Cloud says Bishop Donald Kettler has left it up to each pastor and parish to open when they are ready. He says both of his churches will open Wednesday.
At St. Mary's the upper church has a capacity of 800 people so seating will be limited to the first 200 people.
We have every third pew marked and so as people come into the building we're going to go ahead and fill those pews and really it will be a visual cue for us when we reach that capacity. We'll also have attendants and ushers in the back keeping track of the numbers.
Pogatchnik says reservations will not be required and he's not sure yet just how many people will feel comfortable gathering in public for worship.
Pogatchnik says for Holy Communion he'll be coming to you in the pews.
We're going to have people remain in their pews with the priest and the deacon moving within the pews to actually distribute communion to the people. We'll be masked. We thought that would mitigate as best as possible people moving by each other.
Pogatchnik says once you're seated you'll remain there throughout the entire mass.
There also will be no congregational singing, which has been discouraged.
Masks will not be required but are highly recommended.
And, of course, if you're feeling sick you should not attend.