Diocese of Venice churches resume mass with many changes, finding a new normal

Published: May 18, 2020 6:32 PM EDT

Making reservations, marked off pews, and a safe way to receive communion. Catholic worshipers were allowed to return to celebrate mass Monday, but with strict guidelines from the Diocese of Venice.

At St. Cecilia’s Catholic Church in Fort Myers “X’s” line the sidewalk and signs all around encourage social distancing.

It’s the new normal for church member Ellen Serviss, at least for now. She says it’s worth it worship in person.

“It feels absolutely wonderful. It feels like the first time in forever.” Serviss added. “You just always take it for granted that the church is going to be open and that the services that your used to are always going to be there.”

Monday marked the first day mass can resume under the Diocese of Venice and it comes with strict new guidelines.

“They had the pews all marked off, the seats all marked off, going up to communion was all marked off. Everything was very safely done.”
Serviss said. “I brought my gloves and my mask and in here I have hand sanitizer.”

At St. Francis, employees deep cleaned pews; and at mass this morning at St. Andrew they also adjusted to new protocols, which including no singing.

“You could hear a pin drop. It was altogether different than a normal mass.
Serviss recalled. “I hope to be back here tomorrow if the good Lord willing and the dam don’t bust.”

Adjusting to a new normal, for the many, and the faithful.

Governor Ron DeSantis’ order never required churches to close, but many, including the Diocese, did so for safety reasons.