Burlington Roman Catholic Diocese prepares to reopen its churches

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Houses of worship of all kinds should be able to re-open their doors soon. The Burlington Catholic Diocese says its churches can celebrate mass, beginning Monday.

“There are a lot of people who will come but we don’t expect big numbers,” said Bishop Christopher Coyne.

Bishop Coyne says the Diocese will start slowly, with weekday devotions and smaller services to ensure the new protocol is working before holding weekend masses, which draw larger crowds. You’ll need to wear a mask and sanitize your hands upon entering and the state has set limits on how many parishioners will be allowed in.

“It’ll vary from church to church on how many people will be able to come inside for the celebration,” Bishop Coyne said. “It will be 25% of the seating capacity or less depending on social distancing.”

The bishop says that won’t be an issue at St. Joseph’s cathedral, which can seat more than 1,000 people normally, but you may have a problem getting into some of the smaller churches.

“Usually those churches are full so they’re going to try to figure out a reservation system,” he said.

Bishop Coyne says services will also still be available virtually. He anticipates a demand for funerals and celebrations of life which had been placed on hold.

“A lot of people especially that cremated their loved ones, they’re waiting to have a funeral,” he said. “So we’re going to see a lot of funerals as kind of a makeup for the past 9 weeks.”

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