This week President Trump pushed for governors to reopen churches in their states. Churches in West Virginia were allowed to hold indoor services this past Sunday.
Masses will look different from what people are used to as churches make an effort to maintain social distancing and safety standards due to the coronavirus, but that does not make churchgoers any less excited to attend.
“I’m looking forward to being part of the community,” said Todd Miller, a parishioner at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Wheeling. “We’ve been watching [church] on TV every week, and it’s so nice to come and be involved with the church again LIVE!”
Pews were empty for months, but now parishioners are slowly filtering back into Sunday services at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Wheeling.
This week, Governor Jim Justice gave churches the green light to open but with some regulations.
“Everybody just needs to follow the rules. Follow the rules, wear your mask, do what they tell you to do, and it will be very easy,” said Patti Miller, parishioner.
“I know we have to wear a mask and there is a separation between the pews,” said William Waller, another parishioner at the Cathedral of St. Joseph. “There is a separation between adults and children. Only family members can sit together and non-family members have to be separated by at least six foot,” he added.
Some common, though optional practices of the mass will be omitted such as holding or shaking hands and offering shared communion wine.
Right now the church is only able to accommodate 92 people per mass, but additional overflow seating will be directed to Central Catholic High School where the service will be live-streamed.
“The Cathedral has been my church my whole life, and I just can’t wait to get back into church to see my friends and to pray,” (P) Miller noted. “I just feel so comfortable when I’m in church.”
Sick persons and those more susceptible to infection are urged to remain at home where they can participate in televised or online Masses.
The complete list of guidelines is available for your review on the diocesan website.