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Oldest parish in Waco resumes public mass

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Posted at 11:27 AM, May 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-05 12:29:20-04

WACO, TX — A part of Waco history just made history again.

St. Mary Church of the Assumption resumed public mass for the first time since mid-March.

Early Tuesday morning, a pigeon sat on top of the cross of the historic church.

It is fitting to see a symbol of love welcoming back parishioners.

"It gives us strength and hope to know that God is with us," said Rev. Joseph Geleney.

Rev. Geleney welcomed four people back inside the church and held a 20 minute mass today.

"People have been wanting to do this for a while. They've been missing the mass and it's a joy to have them come back," said Rev. Geleney.

25 News Photojournalist Douglas Galler stayed outside the doors with his camera so that as many faithful as possible would be able to worship.

Among them was James Arnold.

"It was wonderful. I was floored when they said I couldn't go no more. I used to come every day," said Arnold.

His last mass at St. Mary's was March 17th and even though live stream services never stopped, he couldn't wait to return.

"It's life-saving. You've gotta be able to pray," said Arnold.

Sanitation, social distancing, masks, CDC and state guidelines and 25% capacity are all a part of resumed services and if members aren't comfortable coming back yet, that's okay too.

"We value life. We love the Lord. We also value this life and the Bishop has given dispensation for those who can't come to church. We miss them," said Rev. Geleney.

Father Galeney says they will cautiously wait until the entire congregation can return, but this is a good first step.