New faces, crowds as Mass returns to Archdiocese of Cincinnati

Updated: May. 25, 2020 at 4:51 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (FOX19) - For the first time in more than two months, Catholic Church services were held in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.

The faithful were welcomed back at St. Peter in Chains Cathedral Monday in Downtown Cincinnati.

Fr. Jan Schmidt, rector of St. Peter in Chains, called it a “special blessing” to have people back in the cathedral for the first time in 10 weeks.

April 2: Archdiocese extends suspension of Masses, liturgies past Easter

“It has been a long time since we’ve had a congregation,” Schmidt said from the pulpit, “since we have been able to gather as God’s people to celebrate together, not virtually, but in reality.”

The Catholic Conference of Ohio put out a reopening plan back on May 8. The plan includes pages of rules for parishioners and celebrants alike.

The rules prohibit physical contact at the Our Father or Sign of Peace, and no Holy Communion will be administered from the chalice.

Receiving Holy Communion on the tongue is also strongly discouraged

“I must emphasize that this is not going to be a return to normal," Archbishop of Cincinnati Dennis M. Schnurr said of the reopening plan in early May. “Health and safety requirements and recommendations must continue to be followed. Among these are social distancing, the use of face masks and concern for the most vulnerable.”

Fr. Schmidt expects returning to Mass will start off slowly, but he says the Archdiocese is waiting with open arms.

“We feel very comfortable in being allowed to welcome people back," he said. “It was wonderful this morning at 7 a.m. The crowd was larger than usual, and there were some faces that I had not seen before."

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