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Catholic Parishioners Return To Indoor Masses In San Diego County

St. Joseph Cathedral in downtown San Diego reopens its doors for indoor church services, Sept. 2, 2020.
Jacob Aere
St. Joseph Cathedral in downtown San Diego reopens its doors for indoor church services, Sept. 2, 2020.

Bishop Robert W. McElroy, of San Diego, announced that Catholic churches in San Diego County can reopen for Mass on Wednesday with reduced capacity.

Indoor services must abide by social distancing protocols and are limited to a maximum of 100 parishioners or 25% capacity, whichever is lower.

Both inside and outside, mass is now very different. There’s no holy water in the fonts, Communion can only be received by hand and singing is not permitted. Worshipers have to wear masks and maintain seven feet of social distance at all times.

Video: San Diego County Catholics Celebrate Mass Inside With Some Restrictions

Rev. Peter Navarra is a priest at St. Joseph Cathedral in downtown San Diego. He says being indoors brings himself and other Catholics closer to their faith.

“Now instead of being outside in the sun and the wind we can be more conveniently inside, indoors,” he said. “It's more sacred, it's a sacred place where we can come and worship together.”

Churches can still host outside services, and are not limited by a maximum capacity outdoors.

RELATED: Catholics Attend Last Mass Before Coronavirus Shuts Down Churches


Bishop McElroy is also encouraging parishes to continue to livestream masses so that vulnerable communities are able participate in exercising their religion.

Rev. Navarra is excited to be back indoors, which allows him to perform the full extent of his spirituality.

“Now we are allowed to come back and we rejoice with that. Because we can again, more fully, practice our faith,” he said.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego also oversees Imperial County, which has one of the highest case rates in the state. Bishop McElroy said the diocese is waiting for that county to issue new guidelines on indoor services.