MOBILE, Alabama (WALA) — After 15 months worth of sacrifice and changes because of COVID-19, soon glaring signs of the pandemic, like roped off pews and masks, will be stripped away from many Catholic churches across South Alabama.
Archbishop Thomas J. Rodi addressed priests of the Archdiocese of Mobile in a letter, writing that regulations put in place to address COVID-19 will end on May 29th.
The latest guidance by the CDC, loosening restrictions for vaccinated people, prompted the Archdiocese to rid catholic churches of their current COVID-19 regulations.
“Now they really wanna get the last part done. They wanna take the last ropes off the pews and take the masks off and so they’re looking forward to doing that,” said Father John Lynes of Little Flower Catholic Church.
Archbishop Rodi telling Catholics across South Alabama coming to mass will no longer be optional at the end of this month, saying the “dispensation from the obligation to attend mass”will end on May 29th.
“It’s like drinking water, breathing air. Truly, just being able to come to mass is such a blessing and such a gift,” said Bette Szafranski, who was attending mass at Little Flower Catholic Church Friday afternoon.
Father John says of 800 families in his congregation 75-80% have returned to attend mass in person.
“Attending mass in person is everything for us as Catholics.”
He believes vaccines have given people confidence and is a key part to why the restrictions are being lifted.
“People are already.. they really want to come and they just.. some might need that last little push from the archbishop to get them to come.”
Some parishioners were overjoyed to hear the word from the archbishop.
“Hopefully a lot of people will be able to return now. For me there’s nothing more essential in my life than Jesus Christ and that’s why I come to mass, so I can receive him in the holy eucharist.”
Archbishop Rodi says church leaders should “use good judgment” and may continue regulations if they believe it is necessary.
At little flower, Father John says they will go back to how things were before the pandemic.
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