SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – Today was a big day for local Catholics who were able to return to mass at St.Peters cathedral early this morning.
Parishioners, like Pat Yanni, spent 10 weeks away from the cathedral here in downtown Scranton due to COVID-19. They had the first mass at 6:30 Wednesday morning with many new guidelines.
“It’s been a long time. I’ve been coming to mass here, everyday since 1957.”
Catholics believe St. Peter is the keeper of the keys to the kingdom. Here at St.Peters Cathedral, the doors have been locked to the public for ten weeks, due to the pandemic.
Wednesday morning. The doors were unlocked. Diocese of Scranton spokesman Eric Deabill was happy to welcome back the parishioners.
“We are so excited to welcome everyone home to their cathedral.”
The weeks away gave the diocese plenty of time to deep clean and sanitize the cathedral.
It looks different inside, with sanitizing stations, pews marked off, and social distancing markers.
“In terms of face masks, requiring face masks, insuring 6-foot social distancing within the churches. But there is always inherent risk.” Said Deabill.
The parishioners we spoke with understand the need for the changes. They’re just thankful to be back and able to worship again.
“We have to do what we have to do to stay safe. Can’t change that.” Yanni said.
The bishop is still stressing that those at higher risk continue to watch the live-streamed mass from home.
“If they’re in a vulnerable population, whether through a health condition or age, that they should still really stop and think if it’s still safe for them personally to come back to mass. The coronavirus still hasn’t gone away.” Deabill said.
The diocese also stresses that for Catholics, the Sunday mass is still not an obligation at this time.