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Weekend masses resume for first time since coronavirus outbreak began

PITTSBURGH — For the first time since mid-March, parishioners returned to Catholic churches across the Pittsburgh area Sunday.

At Saint Mary Magdalene Parish, they’re starting back slowly, holding three out of their typical six Sunday Masses.

Services also look at lot different than they did three months ago.

Church capacity is cut in half, parishioners have to sit six feet apart and wear masks.

“Everybody knows that they have to come in with a mask. We have hand sanitizers. We have the pews roped off and they’re separated with the social distancing and just follow proper protocols and just use common sense,” The Rev. Thomas Burke said.

Masses at Saint Mary Magdalene Parish have been livestreamed since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Burke said it’s not the same, especially with the current atmosphere of our nation.

He said Sunday’s Masses were an important opportunity to talk about unity.

"Definitely speak about racial equality, end to racism, respect for all human life and here at St. Mary Magdalene Parish, we’re very multidiverse group and we serve Point Breeze, the East End and Wilkinsburg, so this parish is very at the forefront preaching the gospel and treating all people equally,” he said.

Starting Monday, daily Masses in the Diocese of Pittsburgh will be allowed to increase their attendance from just 25 people to 25% of the church’s capacity.