Indianapolis church services change in wake of flu, coronavirus

Some Indianapolis churches adjust services in wake of flu, coronavirus

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Some churches around central Indiana are now taking extra precautions due to the coronavirus. Faith leaders are changing parts of their service to better protect their congregation.

As bells rang out signaling the beginning of mass for St. Mary’s Catholic Church, churchgoers pushed open double doors marked with warnings of the coronavirus.

“We felt it was important to begin doing some things to prevent people being infected by one another,” Father Carlton Beever said.

Services went on as usual, but on Saturday as the music played, fingers only came into contact with piano keys and hymnals.

“We’re also not receiving Eucharist under the form of blood, the wine,” Beever said. “And that, of course is so there isn’t any contamination.”

Churchgoers like Tiffany Wesseler are well aware of the consequences. She even brought along some hand sanitizer of her own.

“It’s been a while since I’ve even taken the cup because I don’t want to share my germs with anybody,” Wesseler said.

The danger of sharing germs, specifically those linked to the coronavirus, is exactly why a clinic attached to the church is closing until further notice. It’s meant to be a place people without insurance can go for help.

“But the result of that is that we have waiting rooms full of people,” Dr. Janet Arno said. “And they sit for hours. We have no protective equipment, personal protective equipment to wear in the event that we did have someone.”

As Carlton preaches words of peace, he wants people to have peace of mind as they come together, saying these are all just precautions.

“We don’t want people to get excited about it,” Beever said. “But at the same time, we want to do what we can to prevent the spreading of the coronavirus.”

The Archdiocese of Indianapolis put out a statement Saturday encouraging other churches to act just like St. Mary’s is but they did say they’ll leave it up to the individual churches to decide what’s best for their congregation.