Unclear of when they will reopen, places of worship tell people to prepare for the ‘new normal’

Around New York State

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Places of worship have been closed since March 20, but ever since discussions of a regional restart, many people who practice have been asking one question…Where do the churches, temples, mosques and synagogues fall under this plan?

The answer hasn’t been entirely clear as to what phase those houses of worship will be a part of.

The Syracuse Roman Catholic Diocese is waiting for the green light for reopening and is in the midst of planning for when that day comes.

“People are hungry for the Eucharist. They want to go and have Eucharist and celebrate mass,” said Danielle Cummings, Director of Communications of the Syracuse Roman Catholic Diocese.

COVID-19 has thrown a wrench in most of our daily routines, our faith being one of the bigger disruptions.

While many places of worship have been creative with the way they deliver services throughout the pandemic, they’re going to have to use those ideas as they look to reopen.

“We have been working very hard and developing protocols and instructions on how to celebrate public mass,” said Cummings.

The Syracuse Roman Catholic Diocese has made up a task force to assist their 114 parishes across seven counties with reopening plans.

Each parish will need to follow basic guidelines provided by the Diocese.

Then, they’ll have to submit their own plan to the Diocese on how they’ll be able to meet that protocol.

The Bishop is saying once the task force reviews those plans and you show us that you can do this, then you will be able to reopen when we’re told we can reopen.

Danielle Cummings, Director of Communications of the Syracuse Roman Catholic Diocese

While there isn’t a set date on a reopen for places of worship, Governor Cuomo said that places of worship will be treated as large gatherings. This would mean they would fall under phase four.

“It’s going to be basically according to the guidance of large gatherings. That’s the issue with churches, temples and mosques, it has nothing to do with religion, it’s the gathering,” Governor Cuomo said.

The Syracuse Diocese is asking for all parishioners to be patient and they want everyone to know they’re listening.

I hear you, but please be prepared that it’s not going to be back to normal. So this is going to be the phrase that’s all over in the Webster dictionary that all these new phrases we use, but it will be the new normal for now and so we’re going to have to make accommodations, and we’re going to have to be patient, and we’re going to have to persevere.

Danielle Cummings, Director of Communications of the Syracuse Roman Catholic Diocese

The guidance and protocol from the Diocese has yet to be finalized, but they’re encouraging parishes to use this time to come up with ideas of how their individual church can best reopen.

Because of the different sizes and locations, the Diocese said they’ll be treating each church as their own.

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