CHANDLER, Ariz. — For the first time in nearly two months, mass was held at St. Mary's in Chandler. Parishioners arrived in their Sunday best and consistent with tradition, they were greeted by nuns and priests.
“Good morning,” Father Daniel McBride said, waving.
But this Sunday, masks and a squirt of hand sanitizer were required to enter the sanctuary. Clorox wipes were prominently displayed. And social distancing at a distance of much more than six feet was enforced.
“We're only allowed 25% of our capacity in the church,” Father McBride said. “So we have people in our church; we have people in our church hall. So we're using any space we possibly have to be able to get people in.”
During Sunday service, Father McBride said, “Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins and bring us to everlasting life, amen.”
This morning’s services had all the traditional trappings. But it may have had an outsized effect on church-goers souls.
“I've had grown men crying because they could go back to church again. You don't get to see that very often,” Father McBride said.
Everyone appeared to feel safe and exercised caution. Annie Guzman talked about the experience inside.
“It was very quiet, very distant. Seems like people were to themselves. But it was very nice,” she said.
Again, the church is not letting its occupancy exceed 25% to continue to promote social distancing. It is streaming these homilies online.