By Devin Watkins
“The priests were still offering the people of God the essential service of their prayers, even when they could not be physically with them.”
Archbishop Thomas Wenski gave that synthesis of the Church’s nearness to Catholics during the ongoing difficulties brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.
In an interview with Vatican Radio, the Archbishop of Miami, Archbishop Thomas Wenski, described the current situation in the US state of Florida.
“Many of our hospitals have reported a growing number of admissions,” he said. “There are a couple of hospitals that are at their maximum, but there are still hospitals able to receive patients, so we’re not anywhere near the crisis of New York of a few months ago.”
Risks still present
Covid-19 cases have shot up recently in states across the US, pushing the total to nearly 2.5 million.
Florida alone saw a large jump in cases on Thursday, an increase of over 5,000 in a single day. As of Friday, the state had confirmed around 115,000 coronavirus cases.
Health officials say many new cases are being found in young people.
“It does require us to remember that the virus is still with us and is very contagious,” said Archbishop Wenski.
He urged people to continue to practice social distancing, hand-washing, and wearing facemasks.
Open but safe
Catholic Churches were allowed to resume Masses with a congregation on 26 May.
“We have accommodated our Churches to receive people by practicing social distancing, which reduces the capacity of the church to only about 25%,” said Archbishop Wenski.
He admits that people are “not rushing to come back to Church.”
The Archdiocese of Miami is also encouraging people who fall in the “at risk” category to follow live-streamed Masses.
Archbishop Wenski said Catholics seem to be taking the precautions put in place very seriously.