How long will it be before Mass returns to normal?
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Catholics are returning to Mass, but in small numbers. Continued restrictions and concerns over coronavirus are keeping many away. When will these restrictions end and when will Mass return to normal?
Some parishes have moved Masses outside, others to a drive-in format, and many more, online.
LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - The Holy Mass is at the heart of Catholic life. It is where we receive the Eucharist with the grace we need to lead fulfilling, Christian lives. The cornavirus panedemic disrupted our lives in many ways, and still that disruption continues. It is evident in Mass, even as our parishes reopen.
Many parishes are operating at 25 percent capacity to enforce social distancing guidelines. There's no more rushing to Mass at the last minute. If you're not early, you're not getting in and then you have to come back and wait for a later Mass.
Some parishes have responded by moving Mass outside, or even to parking lots. But the Sacrament is not usually available.
These restrictions are important. They protect our priests and they help us protect our fellow parishioners. It is clear that CoV-SARS-2 is highly infectious. It is still the subject of fierce debate how deadly it really is. For most people, middle aged and older, it is a experienced as a strong case of the flu, with breathing problems widely reported. Victims are typically bedridden for several days and brief hospitalizations may occur. Generally, only the elderly or those with underlying health conditions need to worry about more serious complications. But the vast majority of patients will recover.
Even though evidence suggests COVID-19 is less deadly than originally feared, the Church does not want parishioners to sicken one another. It's simple compassion and respect.
Unfortunately, until a vaccine is perfected and administered, these restrictions will be necessary. Most estimates suggest a year is the time required to develop, test and mass produce a vaccine. Experts warn the process could take up to 18 months. We are now six months into the pandemic, and that means we have another six to twelve months to go.
We must be patient. If a person is in urgent need of the Sacrament and cannot get to Mass, a call to the parish will suffice to get a Eucharistic minister, deacon, or priest to your door. Going early will help ensure a seat. Don't forget your mask and hand sanitizer. Let us pray for a swift end to this public health crisis.
For those of us who cannot attend Mass, Catholic Online is sharing Sunday Mass with Bishop Strickland of the Diocese of Tyler Texas.
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