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Churches working on reopening plans, new procedures

The Syracuse Diocese is working with parish priests to reopen church services if it can be done in a safe and effective manner.

Posted: Apr 23, 2020 6:10 PM
Updated: Apr 23, 2020 6:18 PM

UTICA, N.Y. -- Bishop Douglas Lucia is working on a plan with parish priests to reopen church services to the public. A letter was sent out notifying local churches of how the plan is to proceed. The Bishop writes: I feel we must err on the side of caution in order to eradicate this deadly virus from our communities and will continue to follow the directives of local authorities.

Father Joseph Salerno at Our Lady of Loudes Church in South Utica says he's open to any options, so long as it’s in the best interest of the entire public, but in the mean-time is offering services electronically.

"Each week I’m trying to do my best via Youtube and our parish Facebook page to send a message of encouragement and hope, and to celebrate Sunday liturgy so that we can at least feel connected to one another," he said.

The Bishop however, is looking at more creative ways to bring the masses together safely. He writes: I am looking to see if an outdoor Mass with participants staying in their cars is feasible as an interim measure if not permitted to gather in our church buildings.
The ideas are good, but the Bishop isn’t the only one brainstorming. Father Salerno has also received a number of good ideas.

"One of the thoughts that has come forward is to possibly having a mass specifically designated for those who are most vulnerable. That may be people 65 years and older those who are most vulnerable and at this point in my life I am among them. We could keep them as safe as possible."

There are a number of celebrations that are delayed, but the Bishop is at the mercy of government officials. He writes: 
...rules governing public gatherings will dictate the timetable for First Communion and Confirmation celebrations in our parishes. For now, all these ceremonies are postponed until we have a better idea of how we can proceed.

WKTV will keep you posted on any further developments.

New York Coronavirus Cases

County data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 416298

Reported Deaths: 32710
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