BUSHWICK, Brooklyn — To the faithful, it was heavenly news.
Churches throughout Brooklyn and Queens are now open at 100% capacity with COVID-19 safety protocols in place. The roped off areas were gone and so were the social distancing signs at the 5 p.m. Saturday night mass at Saint Brigid’s Roman Catholic Church.
There were smiles on parishioners faces but they weren’t visible, with everyone still wearing masks.
Still, it was a joyful service because, with 100% capacity, the pastor at St. Brigid’s says everyone is so happy to be back.
“I am overjoyed to welcome people back to a safe place,” Father Carlos Velasquez told PIX11 News. “The pandemic seems to be winding down so Gov. Cuomo allowed us to reopen at 100%.”
Even though churches in the Brooklyn and Queens Dioceses are fully reopened, there are still some COVID safety protocols.
- Masks are mandatory for the unvaccinated and strongly encouraged for all.
- Holy Communion is only the host. No shared communion cup and should be received by hand
- No handshake for the sign of peace
Last year, the Brooklyn Diocese sued Governor Cuomo over capacity restrictions and won, so they were allowed to operate at 50% capacity until this weekend. Saint Brigid’s Church was built in the 1880s and can hold 900 people.
Tourists up from the nation’s capital were happy to attend Saturday night mass.
“I think that’s just great,” William Bozo, a tourist, said.
“We will do whatever,” Rosemary Bozo, his wife, told PIX11 News. “We totally think we will beat this thing,” she added.
The diocese of Brooklyn is relying on the honesty of the faithful as to their vaccinations status and the dispensation from requiring attendance at mass will be lifted the weekend of June 5-6.