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When will my parish reopen?

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Catholics are anxious to return to Mass and the Sacraments.

Catholics want to know, when can we return to church?

Highlights

LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - If you are like me, you need confession and Holy Communion, but your parish has been closed for a month. When can I return to church? 

The short answer is soon, if not already. Many parishes are either reopened or will reopen soon with social distancing guidelines and other changes enforced. The decision is up to each diocese and the bishops are likely to follow the advice of their state officials. 

In Texas, many parishes have reopened. KHOU11 reported in detail how one parish, St. Joseph's Parish in the Galveston-Houston Archdiocese reopened. A special team was convened to decide how to protect fellow parishioners. Members of the team are wiping door handles, and sanitizing pews. Parishioners are required to social distance, wear masks, and use hand sanitizer. Every other pew is kept empty, so the parish is operating at about 25 percent capacity. Communion is distributed by the priest, who goes to each parishioner. There is no more line for the Sacrament. 

These rules will likely change with time as the danger from coronavirus fades. However, a return to normal, that is Mass as it was practiced a few months ago, may be a long time away, perhaps well over a year. Until an effective vaccine is introduced or COVID-19 is eradicated, the danger may persist. 

COVID-19, now formerly identified as SARS CoV-2, is highly contagious, and is overall about twice as deadly as the flu, according to present data. But nobody is certain, and it could be less lethal than that. It impacts the elderly and those with certain conditions such as heart disease, breathing problems, obesity and diabetes much more severely. Meanwhile, young and healthy people may have no symptoms at all. Still, some young people have become critically ill, and anyone can transmit the disease to many others, so it presents a risk that should be taken seriously. 

Overall, the disease does not appear to be so dangerous as to warrant the level of response imposed by many states, so governors are beginning to relax some restrictions. However, public safety remains a priority for both government and Church officials. 

Each diocese will makes its own determination, but chances are your parish will open soon. When it does, mind the new rules and give thanks. 

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