Thousands of Catholics in southeastern Iowa are going to have to wait a while longer for the reopening of their churches and public celebration of mass.
The churches opened for private prayer last week, but not yet for any larger events. Davenport Diocese Bishop, Thomas Zinkula, says he’s taking a careful approach to reopening, in several phases, guided by “faith and reason.”
“What I’ve been saying is our process will be reasonable, responsible, and gradual,” according to Zinkula. “And so we’re watching what’s going on, paying close attention to the Iowa Department of Public Health data — we’re looking at the indicators — the number of new COVID cases, deaths, hospitalizations – all those things.”
Bishop Zinkula calls the re-opening process a balancing act. “For Catholics, the Eucharist is the source and summit of our Christian lives — so it is a huge thing for us,” Zinkla says. “But we are also pro-life — so we need to balance our concern for the health and life of ourselves and others and be concerned about the common good.”
The Davenport Diocese includes 77 parishes, and serves about 100-thousand Catholics. The Bishop says once the data show a couple of weeks of improvement he will allow public masses to resume, but with restrictions — including physical distancing, wearing masks, and without singing. And after more weeks of declining numbers, his phase three will relax some of the restrictions.
(By Herb Trix, WVIK. Rock Island)