HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The pandemic caused a lot of churches to close their doors and do virtual service.
Now that more people are vaccinated and cases decreased, churches re-opened their doors but they still had to adjust their services for churchgoers.
Father Robert Moreno, from The Lord of Divine Mercy Parish in Brownsville, was happy when his church could reopen its doors. However, he decided to keep services partially online for those with concerns.
Father Moreno said, “It might still be that fear. We hear cases are rising still, there’s a new variant so people might still have that fear of coming back.” He goes on to say, “we have a bit of both, so we have all our masses in person when you come in, but we do have a live stream English mass and live stream Spanish mass.”
Across the Rio Grande Valley, other pastors such as Michael Smith of Faith Fellowship Church in McAllen are adapting as well.
“We are using both. Facebook for Bible studies and on Sundays, we’re actually live at the church,” said Pastor Smith.
After experiencing an increase in attendees, Pastor Smith hopes streaming Sunday services will remain in effect.
“Even though our church is local we are having people watch us not only across the state but across our country and to me it’s beneficial to do both,” he said.
Pastor David McCann, of the First Presbyterian Church in Weslaco, said streaming his service has helped those with health problems stay connected.
“Some people, because of underlying health conditions, continue to follow through the streaming,” said Pastor McCann.
Meanwhile, Fr. Moreno hopes one day their church can transition back to normal.
“Participating in the life of the church in person is very different from participating virtually,” he said.
All church leaders agreed the vaccine played a role in people attending in-person services. Churches are also still encouraging COVID-19 precautions like the use of face masks and social distancing.