by Beverly Church
On Tuesday, May 19, local Catholic parishes will begin welcoming parishioners to public masses after a two-month hiatus.
Houses of worship across the state suspended in-person services in March, due to Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s “Stay Home. Stay Safe.” Executive Order, designed to slow the spread of COVID-19.
“There is great excitement,” said Monsignor Thomas Hogan of St. Fabian Catholic Church in Farmington Hills. “Many people have expressed their long desire to get back to receiving communion and being in their church.”
The decision to resume services was announced May 12 by the Archbishop of Detroit, Allen H. Vigneron. The announcement outlines the precautions churches must follow to reopen, including wearing face coverings, sanitizing of the church before and after masses, observing social distancing and limiting attendance to 25 percent of church capacity.
People over 65 who have health conditions or who take care of someone who is sick are encouraged to stay home, as is anyone who feels ill.
Using faith and reason
In his letter to St. Fabian parishioners, Msgr. Hogan emphasized the importance of using common sense as the church reopens.
“At times the news media will publish stories of groups or individuals claiming they won’t wear protective equipment because they trust in God to protect them,” he wrote. “It’s one thing to trust the Lord; it’s another to be foolish and ignore common sense. The Church calls us to use both faith and reason.”
Msgr. Hogan said St. Fabian will also “continue to live stream a daily mass during the week and also the 8 a.m. Sunday mass; that way, people who are uncomfortable coming for any reason can still participate.”
Learning to adapt
St. Gerald in Farmington and St. Fabian will resume their regular mass schedules starting Tuesday. According to their Facebook page, Our Lady of Sorrows in Farmington will announce their plans this week.
Msgr. Hogan said St. Fabian will continue to adapt as needed.
“In previous letters I’ve sent out to the parishioners, I’ve said we have to realize that, yes, these are different times,” he said. “But it’s not the first time we’ve gone through (a crisis). We’ve gone through illnesses before, we’ve gone through world wars. We learn how to adapt – we’re very good at that. I always challenge them: Don’t look at what you’re missing – look for the opportunities.”