BOONE, N.C. -- Masses are beginning again in North Carolina, and the Charlotte Diocese has advised their 95 churches of practices to keep their parishioners safe.
One church in Boone held three masses Sunday, and pictures taken from their online stream show the pastor was not wearing a mask during communion.
A parishioner who attended the 9 a.m. mass says the pastor was not the only one not wearing a mask, but says aside from receiving communion, they were able to social distance inside.
Boone resident Terry Waldspurger says while it was concerning that the pastor was not wearing a mask during communion and everyone was close together, it was a risk she was willing to take to do communion. She says some who did not feel safe did not go up and receive.
The Charlotte Diocese has provided some guidelines for their churches to keep parishioners safe, such as reducing capacity and increasing social distancing at masses, the use of masks whenever possible, and frequent cleaning and sanitizing protocols, particularly during the distribution of communion
"I decided to do it anyway because you're at church and it's mass, but I did notice that some people were not going up. However, I made the conscious decision to go up and get communion knowing that I took it like this, but still, there is no social distancing and you are getting way close," Waldspurger says.
The Diocese also stated they understand how difficult it is for pastors to balance the guidelines with parishioners' desires and concerns about returning to mass. They have "sent general instructions to all clergy with suggestions on how to implement them based on the governors directives".