BATON ROUGE, La (BRPROUD) — With looser COVID-19 restrictions, churches are excited to welcome back more of their members in person.
Father Tat Hoang from St. Gerard Majella Catholic Church says, “people are hungry for the good news. people are hungry for something not just real, but something joyful, something positive, something truthful.”‘
The COVID-19 pandemic made in-person Easter services impossible for many churches, so many had to move to a virtual format. Hoang says that before the pandemic, attendance was down, and moving to a virtual model made more people aware of their presence.
Hoang says they kept social distancing in mind, and although they can hold roughly 800 people in their church, about 100 people attended each service. “I encourage people to spread out and enjoy and be comfortable,” he says.
We also spoke to Marla Strup with Healing Place Church. She says, “last year we were watching Easter at home, we recorded services, and we were able to worship in that way.”
“We allow for people to come in, we allow for social distancing, we have masks available for everyone… we want to continue to make sure everybody is safe whether they come on property or they’re watching online,” Strup says.
Although Healing Place did not allow us to see inside the auditorium or to speak with any churchgoers, we could see in the corridors surrounding the auditorium that most people were not wearing masks.
Each said that members were excited to be back to in-person service. “I can hear a young lady dancing in her wheelchair. I can hear people sing Hallelujah from the bottom of their hearts and soul,” Hoang says.
He says he is excited to continue serving the community and bringing people together safely, adding, “Happy Easter to everybody, I think God is good and God is crazy in love with every one of us.”