Despite Smaller Services, Church Officials Are Happy to Be Back

Members of the Archdiocese of Boston say families are just thankful to get back to practicing their faith in a more traditional way.

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It’s been one week since houses of worship have been allowed to reopen to parishioners.

There are still strict guidelines in place, but the Archdiocese of Boston says families are just thankful to get back to practicing their faith in a more traditional way.

"The crowds are small but they’re happy," said Bishop Mark O’Connell during an interview with NBC10 Boston on Sunday.

Catholic masses are a lot different these days. There is no shaking hands, no hugging, not even any singing.

"I can’t imagine I would ever say to a congregation, 'don’t sing,' but today I did that," the bishop said.

Capacity can only reach 40%, people must wear face coverings and keep a safe distance from others, which isn’t easy for certain people.

"I’m a guy who likes to shake hands and pat people on the back and be close to people and that’s a huge change," O’Connell said.

Small weddings are being celebrated now and private funerals are allowed as long as the same guidelines are followed, and churches are taking it seriously.

"I know of a church that had to send 40 people back to their cars," the bishop said.

The months away from the church were difficult, but the bishop calls it, "a blessing in disguise."

"We were not live streaming anything before COVID and now we are," he explained. "It’s a great blessing so more people can watch at home."

The church is reaching an even larger audience at a critical time. Amid the social unrest in our country and a deadly pandemic, some might say faith is needed now more than ever before.

"People need to find their faith in their fellow human beings and in God," O’Connell said. "Let’s just hope for peace, and pray for peace and get out and vote."

O’Connell said only about 75% of churches in Boston are open right now. Others have waited. He expects all of them to start in-person services by the beginning of July.

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