Massachusetts churches allowed to fully reopen

Massachusetts News

WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) — Church services are back to the way they used to be, for the most part.

“Parishes will be rolling out their process individually as the pastors see fit,” said Bishop William Byrne. “And knowing their communities, it might be different in each parish, but I invite everyone to come back.”

At St. Thomas the Apostle in West Springfield, most during Sunday’s service were not wearing masks. “It’s wonderful, to be honest with you, to be at mass without having to put a mask on several times on and off,” said Father Jack Sheaffer. “It’s a liberating feeling and to see people once again.”

You can go maskless if you’re vaccinated, and they’re encouraged for those who aren’t. Unvaccinated parishioners say they don’t mind wearing them. “It’s like a lifestyle now, we are so used to it,” said Brendan Bousquet, a West Springfield resident. “It feels like you’re not doing what God called you to do if you aren’t wearing it.”

To start Sunday mass, a message of healing from Father Sheaffer, as he encouraged prayers for victims of clergy abuse, in particular Danny Croteau, who was allegedly murdered by former priest, Richard Lavigne.

“I would ask you to pray for members of the Croteau family who have endured so much the last 49 years,” said Father Sheaffer.

Other notable things now at church, parishes no longer have to limit their capacity. Father Sheaffer also said eucharist ministers will wear a mask for communion.

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