Notre Dame of Easton is actively observing the Lenten season even while the pandemic enters its second year. Meanwhile. Governor Ned Lamont announced expansive reopening plans and the easing of Covid-19 restrictions that went into effect March 19.
The new protocols lift the capacity restrictions for religious institutions but still require face coverings, social distancing, cleaning and sanitation.
“Safety has been the most important priority at our church,” said Jeanine Pagliaro, Notre Dame of Easton parishioner. “Our pastor, Father Lyons, has made every decision with the safety of parishioners as the top priority.”
Some of the safety precautions that have been initiated include pre-registration for in person services to limit the number of people in attendance. The pre-registration form for services can be found on the Notre Dame of Easton website.
The mass services were also moved to the lower church hall to accommodate more parishioners and allow for social distancing. Chairs are sanitized after each service.
Father Lyons leads the service from an elevated stage that is safely distanced from the parishioners. He also wears gloves when he gives Communion to those who wish to receive it.
“So far all of these precautions have kept us safe and we’re grateful for his efforts,” said parishioner Cheryl Constand,
Weekly church bulletins are available online for those who are unable to attend in-person services. Liturgical resources are also posted on the church’s website for anyone who wishes to use them to help strengthen their faith.
“We invite you to use the resources below as a means to help you strengthen and build up your faith during these times when we don’t have the opportunity to be directly in the presence of the Lord,” reads the Notre Dame of Easton website.
A Lenten reflection is posted on the church Facebook page every Sunday. The reflection corresponds and follows the weeks of the Lenten period.
“Lent is a time for prayer, fasting, and sacrifice, and Pope Francis said that this year during Lent, Catholics should focus on faith, hope, and love,” said Pagliaro. “The Lenten season is also a time for reflection and personal growth.”
While most people tend to cut things out of their daily lives during Lent, it is also a time for reflection and growth, especially during this difficult Covid-19 time.
“Lent has begun and years ago it was ‘what treats can I give up?’” said Constand. “This year I feel I must take more responsibility to seek out experiences to nourish my spirituality in a meaningful way since most parishes have limited services that I can plug into.”
The church has also begun to offer the Stations of the Cross every Friday night which has been a positive experience for parishioners. The Stations of the Cross occurs in the main church and parishioners must sign in upon entering. Social distancing and mask wearing are strictly enforced.
Bible studies are held on Tuesdays using the chairs that are set up for services, while still adhering to social distancing.
For more information on services and Lent visit the church website, www.notredameofeaston.com or Facebook page. To find more information on Governor Ned Lamont’s reopening plans, visit the State of Connecticut website or the most recent press release on the reopening plans, https://portal.ct.gov/Office-of-the-Governor/News/Press-Releases/2021/03-2021/Governor-Lamont-Announces-Plans-To-Ease-Some-COVID-19-Restrictions-in-Connecticut.