Despite Trump’s call to reopen, Rhode Island churches wait
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — Father Jordan Kelly of St. Sebastian Church says he is tired of only being able to lead services virtually.
“I really can’t wait to see my congregation,” he said. “To say mass into a red camera dot is not why I became a priest.”
But despite President Trump’s call to reopen, the doors at St. Sebastian are staying shut for now.
“I appreciate the encouraging people to get back to church,” Father Kelly said. “But I couldn’t do it this weekend. There would just be no way. I have not spoken to one Catholic priest who’s ready to open tomorrow.”
Father Kelly says he has not received updated guidance from the diocese since President Trump’s comments.
He’s still working hard to come up with a plan for his church in time to reopen next weekend.
Staying at 25 percent capacity, allowing outside airflow, and administering communion are all significant challenges.
“What’s going to allow us to worship God, but what’s also going to keep our people safe?” Father Kelly asked.
Some churchgoers say they’re struggling with how comfortable they would feel walking into a church right now anyway.
“I think people are willing to sacrifice that part of their lives for safety at this point, and not feel they’re abandoning their faith,” said Carmen Roy of Providence. “There are other ways of taking care of our spirituality.”
Father Kelly says finding new ways to be be spiritual may be a silver lining in the pandemic.
“We’ve had to do this,, learned a lot from it,” he said. “It’s probably going to continue to be something that teaches us.”