In response to the recent spike in COVID-19 cases, the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City is requiring its members to wear masks.
They said the virus has affected many in the church community.
One Oklahoma City metro priest is urging everyone to take extra precaution while out in public after he battled the virus himself.
“When I wear a mask, I’m wearing it for someone else,” said Father Jim Goins with St. Thomas More University Parish in Norman.
Goins has been at St. Thomas More for 10 years and said the church has taken a variety of safety precautions since Mass services resumed.
“We only seat people in every other pew,” said Goins. “Which gives them approximately six feet of space.”
A few weeks ago, he started feeling ill and had symptoms including nausea and fatigue. He tested positive for COVID-19.
“(It) has made me more understanding of what people are going through who have the virus,” said Goins.
The Archdiocese of Oklahoma City said Goins is just one of about a dozen priests affected by the virus.
Goins is recovering well now and said he plans to be back as soon as possible.
However, he believes it’s important for everyone to follow this mask requirement.
“This is a time when we need to practice enhanced protocols,” said Goins. “The wearing of facial masks would be one of those protocols.”
Starting Saturday, the Archdiocese will require not only staff but all members to wear some type of face covering. Goins said he hopes this protocol helps avoid the church from having to close its doors again.
“I advocate for this because I don’t want us to shut down again,” said Goins.