Catholic churches plan for 'soft open' with changes like masks required

Many in metro Detroit's Catholic community have participated in church services, only online.

The Archdiocese of Detroit suspended public mass in the middle of March, but it will soon resume.

Msgr. Gary Smetanka was directly involved in helping the Archbishop formulate guidelines for re-opening.

"Much like the rest of society, as we have looked at the various indicators regarding the health field and professionals and civil authorities, we felt that this might be an appropriate time to slowly open up," he said.

Smetanka compared it to a 'soft opening' that a business would use, during the next 10 days.

Archbishop Allen Vigneron wrote a letter explaining plans to allow public mass beginning next Tuesday, May 19. Masses will be at the discretion of each church - however masses will resume at all parishes by May 29.
Days earlier dozens of Catholic protestors implored the archbishop to make the move he now has. But the church is putting safety measures in place.

"Parishioners in the pew even limited, will be a great joy," Smetanka said. "We have certainly missed them."

Churches will not be allowed to exceed 25 percent capacity and there will be other major changes. For example, everyone in and around the church will have to wear masks and maintain at least six feet of distance.

There will be no sign of peace and priests should not touch parishioners in any way when giving communion.

Funerals, weddings and baptisms may resume under the same conditions.