SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – In a time span of a year, there have been many things that changed in an instant, including attending masses.
One year ago, Bishop Nickless issued the mandate to all Catholic churches in the Diocese of Sioux City to suspend all public masses.
“It’s been quite a journey for the diocese. A journey of the unknown, a journey of an enormous learning curve and certainly a journey of patience,” said Dcn. Mark Prosser, Diocese of Sioux City.
Deacon Mark Prosser, Director of Pastoral Planning for the Diocese of Sioux City, said the mandate was painful for pastors and challenging for baptisms, funerals, and weddings.
“Frustrations of trying to figure out in a very quick way of how to stream the masses…that at least people can watch it or have some connection to the home parish and church,” said Rev. Terry Roder, Sacred Heart Catholic Church.
Rev. Terry Roder with Sacred Heart Catholic Church said it was a relief to start seeing people at the masses again in June 2020 with COVID safety protocols in place.
“It’s not giving as much feedback as you normally get, but it’s wonderful to see the people in the pews and the kids, being kids. Well, there are always some that are a little bit wound up and need to be on the move,” said Rev. Roder.
Deacon Prosser mentions many people have been attending mass in a completely different environment but haven’t gone to in-person mass in a long time, making it a challenge for the diocese.
“Bring those folks back as we open our churches up and increase the seating capacity in our churches. Our pastors are very sensitive to that and very focused on getting that work done,” said Dcn. Prosser.
For Rev. Roder and Sacred Heart Catholic Church, moving forward in 2021 to bring the masses back to normal as possible will be gradual.
“At some point here, we can go from every other pew to using every pew, still doing the [social] distancing…horizontally wise, as there are different recommendations, come out,” said Rev. Terry Roder, Sacred Heart Catholic Church.
“We are nowhere near normal in our liturgies, but we’re starting to move in that direction, and again, following solid public health guidelines,” said Dcn. Mark Prosser, Diocese of Sioux City.
Deacon Prosser said the diocese is hoping to move to complete normalcy in the latter part of 2021 or early 2022.
For more information on the latest mass protocols from the Diocese of Sioux City, click here.