With the restrictions being lifted, parishioners will be returning to Mass and your parish. The building will still be the same but the hearts and minds of your parishioners will not. People are excited to get back together with their parish family, but in the back of their minds, there is anxiety about the virus.
Your parish should have social distancing policies put in place. Be mindful of your congregation to make sure everyone is following the regulations. If a person sees someone not following those regulations, it will cause them to be anxious during Mass. Instead of focusing on God, that person will be worried about virus transmission. It could cause some parishioners not to come back for a while. Have volunteers watching for this so they can politely remind people of the regulations.
You may not be able to recognize your friends behind their masks. Parishioners may not be able to sit in their favorite spots due to regulations. Be mindful of these things. Communicate as much as possible to let your parishioners know that they are not alone in this situation. Everyone is going through these feelings of uneasiness and the unknown.
Remind your parishioners that these measures have been put in place for their health and safety. It’s definitely not what we are used to but it is something that has to happen to move forward. Bring a positive spin on all of the changes that have to take place. Remind your parishioners that there are blessings that come from this. Deuteronomy 31:6 says, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”