DENVER — Catholics across much of Colorado are allowed to celebrate Mass in-person again as the coronavirus eases in the state, church officials said.
While the details vary church to church, congregants must wear masks and practice social distancing, Colorado Public Radio reported Sunday. Schedules also have changed, and some churches are celebrating Mass more frequently and are asking people to sign up ahead of time to attend.
Mary Pettifor of Littleton said she has enjoyed watching services from all over the world online over the last few weeks, but it’s not the same as attending in person.
“This is the real thing. This is our Mass. This is our Lord. Body, blood, soul and divinity,” she said. “And if you compare that to something online, that’s nothing.”
She used a scarf to cover her nose and mouth at the Holy Ghost Church in downtown Denver on Saturday and said she isn’t worried about getting sick.
“What will be will be,” she said. “If you’re a Catholic and if you’re in the state of grace, then you have to be ready to die anyway.”
Not all Catholic churches in Colorado are offering services.
Veronica Ambuul, a spokeswoman for the Diocese of Colorado Springs, said churches haven’t reopened there, and the rollout will vary across the region.
“A church that can seat 1,000 people, it’s going to look different than at a church that can seat 200,” she said, adding that the bishop is working with pastors to determine the best practices for each parish.
A larger church, for example, could rotate in congregants for services on different days or different times, or cut traditions such as communion from the chalice and the sign of peace.
Nancy Crovelli of Lakewood, who celebrated Mass at Holy Ghost Church on Saturday, said she’s happy to be back even with the changes.
“Oh my gosh, I couldn’t go through my life without it,” she said.
Congregants 65 and older are encouraged to stay home.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.