Some South Mississippi religious organizations are resuming services in their buildings while others believe it’s still too soon to congregate due to COVID-19.
This past week, the Catholic Diocese started allowing mass with proper social distancing. Our Lady of Fatima in Biloxi is just one church resuming in-house services. Things will look a bit different for parishioners. Pews are divided for individuals and families to remain six feet apart. Father Thomas White said, “The Diocese told me that if they are 65 or older they don’t have to come to church. So, I guess I should be going to the funeral home.”
The 81-year-old’s sense of humor is as strong as his faith, Father Thomas remains very optimistic for the future of his congregation. “We’ve had some devastating events in the past. This too will pass and hopefully the scientists will come up with a solution.”
Church patron Jay Davis is encouraging his fellow patrons to attend mass, believing the environment is safe for worship. “They should. It is perfectly safe. They’re sanitizing the church. We have arrangements for people to stay separate.”
There are many safety precautions in place at the church, one of them being you cannot enter the building after it’s been sanitized. “Hopefully we won’t get the virus.”
The church is sanitized after every service. Only bread is served during communion, it is also strictly hands. If patrons wish to give an offering they can do it on the way out, the basket will not be passed around.
Not all churches will be resuming traditional services. Pastor Rick August of Infinity Church is hosting drive-up services and live streaming services for his patrons. “We just want to take care of our people. We have several older members of our congregation, people with predisposed to certain types of illnesses and there’s just so much we don’t know.”