Brooklyn church looks like ‘crime scene’ as it reopens with social distancing
This is what churches look like in the age of social distancing.
A Catholic church in Brooklyn reopened its doors Tuesday — but had to be decked out like a “crime scene” with police tape cordoning off pews and warning signs everywhere.
“I know it may look like a crime scene, or a construction site … but, it is a sign that light is at the end of the tunnel!” Immaculate Heart of Mary said of photos posted to its Facebook page before the grand opening.
The Kensington church — forced to shutter since March 20 amid the coronavirus crisis — was finally allowed to open for private prayer on Tuesday after getting the go-ahead from Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio.
Photos showed the house of worship plastered with bright yellow police-style “CAUTION” tape, sealing off pews and chapels so that the maximum of 10 worshippers allowed in at any one time can be kept safely apart.
“No mask, no entry,” other signs cautioned, with numerous yellow warnings reminding parishioners to “maintain social distancing” of at least 6 feet.
“Social Distancing is a MUST!” the church stressed in a series of strict rules, adding that “only 10 people at a time permitted.” Other rules were to “sanitize your hands frequently” and “No Touching the Statues!”
Tuesday’s opening for Catholic churches in Brooklyn and Queens is just for private prayer and devotion, with Mass still streamed online.
DiMarzio also granted permission to start holding funerals, baptisms and weddings — still with a strict maximum of 10 people, all in masks.
While the safety measures seemed well-received, at least one of Immaculate Heart’s signs was not — “Bathroom closed sorry!”
“Lack of bathroom means opening is useless for many seniors,” Florence Weintraub said in the comments.
The church’s youth minister, John Mancuso, pointed out, however, that it was only open for “short private prayer” with “no mass or sacraments yet” — with others suggesting seniors should still stay isolated at home.
Immaculate Heart asked worshipers to follow its strict rules “so that we can re-open fully sooner rather than later!”
DiMarzio has warned Catholics not to expect to “resume church life as we enjoyed it before.”
“There will be a series of changes designed to keep everyone healthy and safe during prayer and worship,” he said in a statement.
“I am confident that we will respond, as faithful People of God, to the challenges placed before us,” he said.
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