Sonoma County church holds 1st mass after update to COVID-19 health order

SONOMA COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- A Sonoma County church held its first mass Saturday night after closing due to the coronavirus back in March.

The new health order went into effect at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, several hours' later the church was open.

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"You just feel more spiritual. I had that beautiful feeling to be in the same spot as God, It's wonderful. God is with me all the time, but is nice to share it with the people in our church," said Rohnert Park Resident Linda Mish,
For close to three months, David Bishop had been walking four miles from his house to church every day in hopes to see these doors open. Saturday was that day.

"We found out this morning! So I called this morning and in the answering machine and Father Thomas answered the call and said this morning and said yeah we are open," said Bishop, Rohnert Park resident.

At St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic Church, Father Thomas Diaz sent letters to all the parishioners with the list of health guidelines.

Tony and Beth Turegano are the Greeters at St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic Church, they made sure everyone followed the new rules.

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"Number one sanitize your hands and a couple of people didn't have their mask on but they complied and if they didn't have their mask we has these for them," said Tony Turegano.
In Saturday's mass there was no choir, this is one the main changes Father Diaz has to implement to avoid any possible spread of COVID-19.

"Music would be the biggest thing, so we set background music, two putting communion at the end of mass, the collection takes time," said Father Diaz.

Dr. Sundari Mase, Sonoma County's health official said they are testing new phase of reopening with a "cautious approach looking at local epidemiology and waiting two weeks to see the impact before opening others sectors."

Father Diaz is taking the same approach considering that many parishioners are in the age group of the most vulnerable.

"Teaching element for your present and you can't worry about tomorrow since it hasn't happened so just take care of today," said Father Diaz.

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