Catholic churches allowed to reopen in Sacramento County

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Catholic churches in Sacramento County have been given the go-ahead to open their doors.

Father Antony Vadakara is the pastor of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Sacramento.

“Certainly, I’m happy about it,” said Vadakara.

He told FOX40 he’ll likely have the first mass next Wednesday.

“I’m not planning to have public masses celebrated this weekend,” explained Vadakara. “I want to make sure that everything is arranged properly. Maybe if the church is going to be used, we have to mop the pews. Thinking of using every other pew.”

Vadakara said he will hold a meeting Thursday with his pastoral council and liturgy committee, who will go over safety details and decide if masses should resume inside the church or at the parish hall.

“Simply because this church does not have any proper ventilation, except for the doors,” said Vadakara.

The pastor said he’s kept his parishioners involved in the church as much as possible since its doors closed in mid-March.

“As you can see, we have all the equipment to do the livestream,” said the pastor. “Even when we start to resume public masses, I’m going to live-stream one of the masses to make the mass available to people who are not able to come to the church.”

He plans to add an extra evening mass on the weekend to help thin out the anticipated crowds.

“The bishop has informed us every mass, any mass you attend will be considered as a Sunday mass,” said Vadakara.

The pastor said St. Mary’s Church has five masses on the weekend with about 800 people in attendance — people who he has reached out to personally.

“For the past several weeks, I had made phone calls to not less than 800 individuals families,” said Vadakara.

The pastor said those same families have checked in on him during the crisis to make sure he’s OK.

“They have been giving me great support,” said Vadakara.

Bishop Jaime Soto of the Diocese of Sacramento has left it up to individual parishes on when to open their doors now that they are given the green light.

The archdiocese is expected to release more guidelines at the end of the week.

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