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Eastern Iowa Catholic churches consider reopening plans

The Archdiocese of Dubuque. (Allison Wong/KCRG-TV9)
The Archdiocese of Dubuque. (Allison Wong/KCRG-TV9)(KCRG)
Published: May. 22, 2020 at 12:06 PM CDT
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Many catholic churches in eastern Iowa are trying to figure out how they will reopen safely. Governor Reynolds allowed all churches in Iowa to reopen earlier this month.

This week, Archbishop of Dubuque Michael Jackels announced all parishes could resume public masses starting May 30th.

The Dubuque Archdiocese covers churches in Cedar Rapids, Waterloo and Dubuque. It provided a checklist to parishes to suggest what they need to do before reopening.

Many churches, like Saint Joseph in Marion, are ready. They'll ask people to reserve a seat, wear a mask and refrain from singing together and leave in a socially distant fashion.

"We're not going to be able to be as communal with each other and stop in the hallways and say 'hey, how are you doing, good to see you again, it's been a long time,'" said Fr. David O'Connor, the pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Marion. "We'll invite you to take part in the appropriate time and then have you go to your cars."

Meanwhile, other parishes like St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Hiawatha, say they will wait a little longer. This will give them time to make sure the proper safety plans are in place.

"We're not going to begin on Pentecost," said Pastor Fr. Mark Ressler. "We're gonna wait for the following weekend, just to get everything lined up so we can do a good job, then we're only going to start out with one Mass on Sunday at 11 o'clock for about 249 people."

The Archbishop of Dubuque said those who are at risk or feel sick should stay home. He said the obligation to attend Mass is still removed until further notice.

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