As Stay-At-Home Orders Ease, A Catholic Church In Overland Park Holds Saturday Evening Mass
The archdiocese of Kansas City, Kansas, set out guidelines under which churches can welcome parishioners back by following stringent safety protocols and social-distancing measures.
Altar server Tommy Koettker, 15, lights candles before Mass at the Church of the Ascension in Overland Park on Saturday evening. Koettker, who has regularly served at the live streaming Masses, said Saturday’s service wasn’t much different from a live streaming Mass with respect to how he does his job, but “it was a different atmosphere for sure.”
Pastor Tom Tank delivers his homily Saturday evening in Overland Park. Pastor Tank performed most of the Mass without a mask but sanitized his hands and put a mask on to deliver communion. Parishioner Allison Newkirk said she was happy to be physically back in church. “It’s not the same doing it at home.”
Blue tape marked off every third pew at the Church of the Ascension in Overland Park at the Saturday evening Mass. Parishioners were allowed back inside churches for the first time since late March, when self-isolating measures were put in place. Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly this week allowed churches to disregard the 10-person rule for gathering as long as they comply with social-distancing measures, which include keeping worshipers a safe distance from one another.
A communion minister dispenses the Eucharist to a parishioner at the Church of the Ascension on Saturday evening in Overland Park. Per Kansas City, Kansas, diocese guidelines, communion hosts had to be dropped carefully into worshipers’ hands before they gave themselves the communion host under their mask. Ascension Pastor Tom Tank said, “I think what the diocese has laid out has been very helpful and very positive. I think overall we’re trying to work for the protection of everyone and open things up a little slowly.” He added, “It’s going to be very positive. We certainly don’t want people to contract anything by coming to Mass.”
Parishioners at the Church of the Ascension prepare for the 4:30 p.m. Mass on Saturday in Overland Park. The church, like many in the Kansas City, Kansas, diocese, opened its doors to the public based on new social distancing guidelines and strict safety measures. About 130 people attended Saturday’s Mass. They were only able to sit in every third pew and had to use coverings between their hands and the pew in front of them, as well as wear masks and adopt a new Holy Communion procedure.