LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Earlier this year, churches closed their doors to combat the spread of the coronavirus. But when it was safe to open, Bishop George Leo Thomas with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Las Vegas shared guidelines to make sure every parish stays safe.
8 News Now spoke to a pastor about what his church is doing and the message for parishioners to stay safe.
“I am worried,” aid Father Michael Rolland, pastor at St. Christopher’s Catholic Church in North Las Vegas. “As a pastor, I am worried about all the people, especially our elders and the most vulnerable.”
Rolland, also known as Father Miguel, takes safety precautions very seriously, especially since many church members have passed away.
“We do several funerals a week now related to COVID. Most of that is amongst the Spanish-speaking population,” he shared.
Ninety percent of the parishioners are Hispanic.
“We have services with the body present in a cascade,” Rolland explained. “We do a full mass, and sometimes, people bring the ashes.”
Spreading apart in their church is key, as well as temperature checks and masks.
“Singing is very limited. We usually just have one cantor and one instrumentalist,” Rolland said. “We take reservations on the phone. Sometimes people show up if there is room; they can sign in. They must have their names and numbers for contact tracing.”
Father Miguel wants to remind everyone that after mass is done, people should not be gathering in the parking lot.
“We take up a collection, of course, and we use a long pole with a basket so people aren’t touching a basket that is being passed along.”
Rolland is concerned for his parishioners, especially as the holidays approach and families gather.
“We just need people to be double, triple concerned about their families and where they’ve been, what they touched,” he said. “Rather than be worried, we should be hopeful and aware. That means self-aware and aware of your brothers and sisters.”
Father Miguel says under Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, they are on track to offer several masses for Our Lady of Guadalupe, Christmas services and online Catechism classes, starting in January.