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Reopening church is a logistic nightmare

Featured Image:  A priest wearing a protective mask and gloves blesses a member of his congregation after hearing confession at a Rome church while practicing social distancing March 26, during the coronavirus pandemic. (CNS/Remo Casilli, Reuters)

THE heart throbs with excitement as the day gets nearer when church will reopen. How the heart yearns for more than spiritual communion!

It is 61 days to the day the MCO locks down the nation on Mar 18. Though a feeling of euphoria erupts at the news that churches and places of worship are in the process of preparing SOP for the reopening of such places of gathering, a sense of trepidation has also crept in.

Fr Michael Payyapilly of Holy Family parish in Doveton, Melbourne aptly describes it as a logistic nightmare as their parish prepares to reopen. He speaks of the SOP requirement: sanitizing before and after the Church, deciding who should be participating in the Mass within the permitted number of 10 at one time, preparing the seats according to the requirement of social distancing, sanitizing requirement of those attending, putting in place increased Masses throughout the week to meet the need of the whole parish who has been waiting for this moment, and helping parishioners to understand the reason why they should not select only Sunday Mass. The list goes on.

Patience and understanding the seriousness of upholding the SOP laid down are important for us to navigate safely through the post-COVID-19 period. The nightmarish experience of the parish mentioned has tempered this writer’s eagerness to return to the normality of parish life. Her priority remains wellness and safety, and above all, love of neighbor, thus welcoming the sense of peace and calm to allow others to go ahead should their need becomes more urgent than hers.

As we approach the Feast of Pentecost, we are assured of heavenly help from the Holy Spirit to do the Lord’s command “What I command you is to love one another”. – AC

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