(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) On Sunday, many churches across St. Joseph and around the country took measures to keep their congregations safe amid concerns over the Coronavirus.
Father Christian Malewski, a priest at the Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church said Saturday that several mandates involving certain rituals at the church were put into place the bishop of the Kansas City-St. Joseph Catholic Diocese.
While some churches decided to exclusively livestream services online, or cancel them entirely, others went on as scheduled with some minor changes.
"We do about 24 dozen doughnuts every Sunday," Kyle Kormeier, pastor Renovation Church said. "We didn’t do that today. Kormeier also said offering plates, which are frequently passed around were removed as well.
Many church leaders reported smaller crowds, they said some felt the need to play it safe and stay home.
"We’ve had about 1,200 people view today’s message just from the comfort and safety of their home," Kormeier said.
Church leaders said the response to the outbreak is very mixed. Some felt they’d like to see things stay more or less the same.
"We hope to continue to gather for mass and for other social events," Malewski said.
Others see the response as a chance to connect more with their congregations, even if they’re not there in person.
"We have an opportunity during this time to really give people some peace, hope, and comfort," Kormeier said. "That’s what the church should be doing anyway."
As of Sunday evening, the Centers for Disease Control recommended the cancelation of all groups over 50 people.