TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) -- The Archdiocese of Indianapolis released guidance for reopening Catholic churches on Friday, May 8.
It’s a three-phase plan. Phase one involves opening the church for private prayer and confessions starting this Wednesday. Phase two allows public weekday masses to resume on May 19. In-person Sunday mass is part of phase three and can resume as early as May 23.
News 10 talked to Father Martin Day at St. Benedict Catholic Church in Terre Haute. He’s looking at beginning phase one of the reopening plan next week. He wants to ensure his parish has the necessary safety measures in place.
“The instructions from the Archdiocese is, you may begin on this date, but there’s no obligation to begin. So really the freedom for us is to work through all of the issues we need to, so we can work through the CDC guidelines and let that be the determining factor, so we really shouldn’t be doing something we’re not ready to,” said Father Martin Day of St. Benedict Catholic Church.
Don’t expect to sit in your same pew when the church reopens. The church was roping off pews during News 10’s visit on Monday. Communion will also be different. Father Day says he’s been in conversation with local Catholic church leaders about different strategies to implement as they work towards reopening.
“Trying to stay pretty much in sync with one another although there will probably be some variation when churches start their Sunday Eucharist schedule.”
The Archdiocese of Indianapolis says in-person Sunday mass can resume the weekend of May 23 and 24. Local churches can decide when is right for them.
“Probably the first weekend we may not be able to have a full complement of masses just because of the time it takes to sanitize the church,” Father Day explained. “We haven’t got that all worked out yet. It may just be two masses instead of three.”
Father Day is encouraging folks to consider attending a weekday mass or to watch the Sunday mass live stream.
“I hope that whoever is firm in their intention to come to Sunday mass is also firm in their intention to wear a mask while they’re here.”
Those 65 and older or who have underlying health conditions are encouraged to stay home. The exemption from the obligation to participate in Sunday mass has been extended until August 15 in Indiana.
St. Benedict Catholic Church plans to update the community on reopening plans through Facebook and their website.