Casper church allowing up to 35 people for in-person worship

Published: May. 31, 2020 at 6:04 PM CDT
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Bells at Saint Patrick’s Catholic Church ring as one of the morning mass services starts.

The congregation is about 20 people sitting six feet apart at one of the Sunday morning services. Father Gary Ruzicka, the pastor at Saint Patrick’s Catholic Church, said they have been open for a couple of weeks now.

“Initially we started with a maximum of 10 persons for a service then we’ve gone to 25 and we are to 35,” Ruzicka said.

He added they’ve had to increase the number of services held to accommodate their congregation.

“Even though there are five services it doesn’t really accommodate the entire parish of the church,” Ruzicka said.

Everyone in the congregation filled out a form online reserving their spot.

Holy Communion is one reason why they are allowing people to gather together in the building.

“Obviously it’s just impossible to do it virtually. You can watch the service on TV or you can watch it online,” Ruzicka said.

This ritual is done with people lined up six feet apart and everyone wearing face masks. Everyone briefly pulled their mask down to partake in the ritual.

In the Catholic faith, there are some rituals that require physical contact like baptisms. He added those are different than they used to be.

“What you do is make sure there is no physical contact between the person and the priest as the water is being poured over them,” Ruzicka said.

Ruzicka adds he thinks these changes will be in place for a while.

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