Group of doctors with face masks looking at camera, corona virus concept.

Is Going to Church Safe During a Pandemic?

For those who are wondering whether it’s safe to go to church during a pandemic, you aren’t alone. Christians across the world are wondering the same thing. They want to practice their faith and deepen their relationship with the Lord, but they’re concerned about the health of their families.

There’s good news. George Rutler, one of the more prominent priests in the Catholic faith, has weighed in on the matter. As long as people are careful and aware, it’s safe to attend church during a pandemic.

The pastor recommends several precautions that people can take over the course of a pandemic. These allow parishioners to both worship God and keep themselves safe. As long as churchgoers practice these methods, churches should remain safe. 

Practice Social Distancing

Churches will likely have closed some of its pews to better enforce social distancing. At all times, people should keep around six feet away from people around them. This is especially important inside, where viruses love to congregate and thrive.

This distance might interfere with practicing certain sacraments. Receiving communion, especially, can be a challenge. Priests are working day and night to find solutions to these challenges, and it’s likely that your church has already implemented some of its own.

Wear a Mask Over Your Mouth and Nose

It’s important for all attendees to keep a cloth mask secured over their mouth and nose at all times. It’s a common misconception that the mask can fit under a person’s nose and only cover their mouth. Do not do this! If at all possible, keep both nostrils covered by a mask.

Does the type of mask matter? Not really. Some people even make masks out of old jeans, towels and sweaters. A mask will protect those around you, and their masks will protect you.

Stay Home If You Aren’t Feeling Well

This needs to be emphasized: If someone is not feeling well, please stay home. Don’t endanger other brothers and sisters in Christ by attending church with them. Instead, pray and worship from home. The catechism makes specific exceptions from the obligation to attend Mass for times of sickness.

During those times, it’s vitally important that any sick individual remain quarantined from others. Ideally, receive a test for the virus as soon as possible.

Keep the Lord in Your Heart

Churches are used to working together in difficult times. More than anything, churches are communities. That’s why the people in these communities must cooperate to fight the virus.

There are other things we can all do to keep the virus at bay, but the single most important thing to do is simple: care for others. By caring for others, we show the compassion of Christ. Even if we need to pray at home, we aren’t distant from the Lord. He’s still with us.
As long as we all follow these simple steps, Father Rutler thinks it is safe visiting a church in your community.