Plans to restart church service in N.B. delayed because of COVID-19 outbreak in Campbellton
SAINT JOHN, N.B. -- The fallout from the COVID-19 outbreak in Campbellton, N.B., has reached New Brunswick’s church community.
Church doors have been locked and church services have been cancelled since the New Brunswick government declared a state of emergency more than two months ago.
For many of the faithful, an important activity is missing -- both religious and social.
"Belonging to the church, it's like belonging to part of the community," said Catholic parishioner Fred Fuller. "And your community is built around that church and part of going there is seeing some of the other people you know and they see you and it's socializing and it's a great feeling."
A notice appeared in Thursday's newspaper from all four Catholic dioceses in New Brunswick. Similar statements could be found on diocesan websites.
Church services were to be held this coming weekend, though with social distancing and fewer than 50 people attending each mass.
Thursday afternoon, those plans came to a halt when the New Brunswick government delayed a number of reopenings, including indoor church services.
Representatives of the dioceses that were planning to open say their plans are now on hold for at least another week.
Some say, even when the churches do reopen, there will be parishioners who take a wait-and-see attitude.
"Reluctance is there because they're not sure," said Kevin MacDonald. "And they always have that fear … and look who it's affected the most, seniors."
Other denominations are also exploring ways of reopening, albeit on a limited scale, while knowing that some congregants will be more enthusiastic than others about returning to church, given the pandemic.