Opening St. Francis of Assisi Church for Public Mass

Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity Sister Kathleen Murphy shares on the opening up of St. Francis of Assisi Church, Greenwood, Mississippi for public Masses.

The Diocese of Jackson, Mississippi declared that Pentecost Sunday would be the day that parishes would open their churches for public Mass.  So, preparations began to make this a safe, welcoming and joyful liturgical celebration.  One of the first tasks was to take down the hymn numbers which remained from the season of Lent.

Father Kim met with the ushers during the week preceding Pentecost.  They developed a seating chart to be used as church members arrived.  This provided for seating at opposite ends of the pew and leaving an empty pew between worshippers.  Father also scheduled an English and Spanish Mass on Saturday and the same on Sunday.  Staff called each parish member to find out which Mass they planned to attend.

Sister Kathleen and the ladies of the Liturgy Committee worked at separate times to cooperatively create a fitting environment for the celebration of the coming of the Holy Spirit among us.

Father Kim had also requested help from Sister Linda and her sewing crew to provide masks for those who needed one.  This help was much appreciated and the mask basket was soon nearly empty!


The church maintenance crew worked to sanitize all areas of the church and hand sanitizer bottles stood ready near the entrance.  No hymnals were to be used so Brother Craig prepared typed copies of song lyrics which were projected on the wall.

With all in readiness, the church was unlocked about 45 minutes before the 4:00 p.m. liturgy.  Brother Craig and Mr. Jones head usher stood near the doors with no-contact thermometers in hand.  As parish members arrived, their temperature was taken and they were shown a place to sit.  16 members attended this first Mass with great joy.  The process was repeated on Sunday at 11:00 a.m.  20 attended this Mass which was also livestreamed for those not comfortable in attending.

When the last hymn was finished, the ushers led church members out one pew at a time so that they could socialize outside in the fresh air and at a distance.

All seemed filled with joy to return to the church on the Birthday of the Church!

As the parish gathered again for Trinity Sunday, numbers increased at each of the Masses and all seemed very comfortable and joyful in offering praise to God together.