MONTEREY, Calif. (KION)
On Friday, President Trump called on Governors across the U.S. to reopen places of worship. The Diocese of Monterey County says it does not have the safety protocols in place to open their parishes right away.
The safety of priest and parishioners is at the forefront.
Bishop Daniel Garcia tells KION that as much as he’d like to welcome everyone back, safety measure need to be set in place.
“Just sanitizing materials, where do we get them. And where do we get them in large numbers? I’ve been in weekly zoom conferences. We have four counties in the Diocese of Monterey: Santa Cruz, San Benito, Monterey and San Luis Obispo and 46 parishes,” said Garcia. “There’s no doubt that the parishes, if the kind of precaution wiping down pews, wiping down books, having hand sanitizer at every door, guys aren’t ready for that yet,” said Garcia.
After holding a virtual mass, Bishop Garcia said he was made aware of the President’s announcement. He also received news that Governor Gavin Newsom was expected to release guidelines for places of worship next week.
Bishop Garcia says initially there was some concern that churches were placed in phase 3 of the reopening process, because of the other groups of businesses they were placed with.
He says a California Catholic Conference sent a letter to Newsom’s office asking the opportunity to gather in our communities of faith.
The Diocese was already working on safety measure and they hope the state guidelines align with theirs.
“Some sort of criteria is going to come out next week. I’m not sure when. My hope is that whatever expectations, policies, protocols, he (Newsom) has, we hope it is going to be almost like a fitted glove with what our 11 diocese in the state of California are working on,” said Garcia.