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Diocese working on plans to re-open - when the time comes

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Posted at 1:53 PM, Apr 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-28 14:53:36-04

The Diocese of Lafayette is working now to create plans to re-open church - when the time is right.

"When the reopening does happen, when the Governor and all the civil authorities decide the time is here, we wanted to have a detailed plan in place, so that pastors know what to do," said Blue Rolfes, director of communications for the Diocese.

Rolfes said that detailed plans need to be created, and a lot of factors have to be addressed. The primary concern for the Diocese is that churches are reopened safely, she said.

"Our top priority is protecting the health of the parishioners and the health of the priests," she said. "I know everybody is very anxious to get back in church and to receive holy communion again, but we want to do that in a safe environment."

All the buildings need to be sanitized, and social distancing must be addressed, Rolfes said. It's possible that locations for each parishioner will be marked in the church, so that the six-foot distance can be accommodated around each person, she said.

Any plans also would have to be adjusted to accommodate the state's orders, she added. But for now, the Diocese is trying to do as much work as possible ahead of time.

"It's going to require advance planning on our pastors' parts," she said. "We can't get word on a Friday and be ready to open the doors at 4 p.m. on Saturday without plans."

In the meantime, most churches in the Diocese - and indeed most churches in Acadiana, regardless of the faith - are finding ways to minister to their members remotely. Rolfes said leaders of all faiths are learning to be tech savvy, or to access the tech talents of their church members.

That's an unexpected benefit that will continue to benefit churches, she said.

We've compiled a list of churches in Acadiana that are offering live-streams and videos of their services so you can attend church at home. To see the list, click here.