As Connecticut continues reopening, for the first time in months churches are welcoming back parishioners.
While some of the longtime traditions may look different, parishioners said they feel blessed to celebrate mass together once again.
“It feels good to be back in the church and see a bunch of familiar faces all over again. First time in three months. It’s really awesome,” said John Miller of Meriden, who made his way to The Cathedral of St. Joseph in Hartford after work.
“We come here as a people to worship communally and to have that taken away from us, it goes against every pastoral instinct that I have, but we had to do what was important for the safety of everyone always,” said Rev, Daniel McLearen, the rector at The Cathedral of St. Joseph.
Despite adapting to online mass and calling parishioners, Rev. McLearen has been looking forward to leading local Catholics in person.
“Well, I arrived here just two weeks before this all fell apart, so I’m just now going to have the opportunity to meet my people,” he said.
While the cathedral can seat 1,800 people, praying in a crowded church won’t be happening anytime soon.
Monday, parishioners had to wear masks, register in advance for one of 100 spots online, and sit in separate pews.
Holy water was noticeably absent, and the Catholic sacrament of Communion has been adjusted to be more socially distant.
“It’s a good place to be when there’s so much going on in the world,” said Miller.
“I think when things are taken away from us, we realize how important they are to us in life, so we’re hoping they’ll be a new rejuvenation in our faith,” Rev. McLearen said.
Catholic Connecticut residents should check in with their parish for mass times and church safety procedures.
The Diocese of Bridgeport’s churches, for example, won’t resume public in-person masses until June 13.