SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Indoor mass at San Diego County churches resumed Wednesday, according to the Catholic Diocese of San Diego.
Late last week, California issued new guidelines for houses of worship to conduct religious services indoors.
Indoor mass services will be limited to 100 people and social distancing will be observed. Also, face coverings are expected, and Communion will only be offered hand-to-hand.
According to a letter to the diocese sent by Bishop Robert McElroy, the rules will be similar to the indoor masses during May and June, before an increase in COVID-19 cases initiated the second round of closures.
On Wednesday, Mary Star of the Sea Catholic Church was among the first of parishes to resume indoor mass -- something that hasn’t been done since the pandemic forced them to close a second time.
For many parishioners, it was a welcome back home as they celebrated mass inside their church.
Lately, they’ve had to rely on services streamed online or held outdoors.
Father Patrick Mulcahy, pastor of Mary Star of the Sea, said now more than ever it is important to give people the opportunity to return to places of worship.
“This is like an extension of your home, and to not be able to worship in the physical building was a challenge for many people. So being able to do that, they feel comfortable and feel the presence of God inside of the church,” Mulcahy said.
Some parishioners told ABC 10News that they are glad to be back indoors.
Parishioner Jamie Mark said, “Being inside of the church, just the small things; being able to celebrate inside just makes you appreciate it more after being outside for so long or not being able to attend mass.”
Online mass and outdoor services will continue to be options for parishioners at many local churches.