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Churches welcome back parishioners amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Posted at 7:37 PM, Oct 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-04 22:37:30-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — A joyful day for churches across Las Vegas as religious services were able to have up to 250 people.

At Holy Spirit Catholic Church, parishioners were grateful and happy to be back inside.

Father William Kenny said he didn’t expect to have a big crowd at all masses today, but people are joyful to be back inside.

“I’m very excited, just to see their happy faces, some faces I haven’t seen since March. So, for all the churches, synagogues and mosques in Nevada, I’m very happy for this day, this weekend,“ said Kenny.

For some members, like Glory York and her mother, today was a return to church, after not being able to participate in mass since before the pandemic.

“It was hard to get in with only 50 people allowed per service, it was very hard to come so today, it was like coming back home,” shared York.

Others were able to visit at least once during this 6-month period, like Elizabeth Yeghiazarian and Tim Wertzberger. Still, it was a unique moment for the couple, by having more church members with them while praying.

“It does make a difference to be present to be able to receive the Eucharist and it is very nourishing to the spiritual life,” expressed Yeghiazarian.

As much as they liked being back today, they said they wouldn’t be back next week, to allow others to have the same uplifting experience.

“People do have a yearning inside to be together, to pray together, and that we’re still connected in this difficult time and our pastor encourages online by email. Ok, if you sign up and you get in, now, step back and let others sign up for a few weeks,” said Wertzberger.

To attend Mass, they had to register online, get their temperature checked at the entrance, and seat in designed areas with their masks on, just like everyone else in attendance.

The congregation said that after mass, that they now had a new sense of hope, after worshiping God together.

Pastor Michael Hatch from Balm of Gilead Global Ministries says he understands why it makes such a difference to visit a temple and be together with other fellow church members.

“Communities survive because of their faith, so when its time to come back, it just makes the community stronger, period,” said Hatch.