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Historic Changes in the Catholic Church

August 13, 2020

The coronavirus has affected all aspects of life from school, to work, to church, putting a
halt to nearly all activities we consider part of our normal routine. In the case of churches in
particular, many families including my own have turned to watching Mass on EWTN as an
alternative. While we were still able to listen to the readings and the homily, the most important
part, Holy Communion, was still unavailable. After a little over a month, churches have finally
opened to resume offering Mass, albeit with a few restrictions and regulations.
In my parish, Mary Immaculate Catholic Church, there are many new rules put into effect
to ensure the safety of all of the parishioners. Everyone is required to wear masks at all times.
Only 125 people are allowed to be in the church at one time, and parishioners must have a
reservation for which Mass they will attend. Every other pew is blocked off, and ushers help
ensure that social distancing continues between people sitting in the same pew. A choir is not
permitted. There is no collection for offertory and instead, boxes are placed in the foyer for
people to place their offerings. Only one Eucharistic minister assists the priest in distributing the
Eucharist. When receiving Communion, all people are required to receive the host on their
hands. They must keep their arms extended to continue social distancing, and their hands must
be kept flat to minimize the amount of contact between the two people. At the end of the Mass,
people are dismissed pew by pew starting from the back of the Church. Once the church has
been cleared out, a few people stay behind to sanitize and wipe down the pews to prepare for
the next Mass.
For me, I see this as a unique and interesting experience. It was admittedly a little
tiresome and irritating at the beginning with all the new procedures, but at this point, I think the
majority of the people in my parish have accepted it as the new normal. Probably the new rule
that makes me the saddest is the shutdown of the choir and the music ministry at Mass. My
brothers and I used to play our instruments on the last Sunday of every month, and I really miss
doing that. However, I am willing to wait for as long as it is necessary to keep everyone in the
Church safe. Despite all these restrictions, I am glad that churches have reopened and allow
people like my family and me to attend and receive the Eucharist again. I hope the virus cases
will continue to steadily decline and restrictions on not only churches but society as a whole will gradually go down as time passes.

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