Holy Trinity marked pews

SHREVEPORT, La. -- Tomorrow morning more than 100 parishioners of Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Shreveport will be walking through the doors. Today, the preparations are underway to keep them safe.

"We have to make sure there's enough people, but not too many. We divide people into groups so it's not a big congregated effort. It's a huge team effort. Everybody is working together," said Mary Dickman of Shreveport.

Holy Trinity cathedral view

Due to COVID-19, church attendance suffered greatly in 2020. According to the Barna Group, a Christian Polling Firm, one in three practicing Christians has stopped going to church.

Congregations like Holy Trinity are trying to change that. In the last 3 months there's been an all out COVID-19 crusade inside the 164-year-old church.

"Right now we're doing our part to make sure people feel comfortable. That when people feel ready to come back that this will be a place that for our sake is clean and sanitized as possible," said Father Duane Trombetta of Holy Trinity Catholic Church.

Rabbi De Beneddetti

Rabbi De Beneddetti

Safety protocols range from a plexi-glass partition on the pulpit blocking any spread of fluids to the purchase of an electrostatic spray gun that's used on every pew after every service.

In addition, Holy Trinity Church is also limiting where church members can sit. They're going every other pew for those in the congregation and they've even gone virtual.

"It's interesting that when it's broadcast live on Facebook it's also recorded and can be watched throughout the week. It's been a great way to reach those people who feel it's not appropriate to attend in person for now," added Trombetta.

A much different scene behind the doors at the B'Nai Zion Synagogue. In a typical year the seats inside are full, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it's the first time in Rabbi De Beneddetti's 45-year career that her synagogue is empty.

"My congregation has not gathered in person since March of 2020. It's a congregation so we're supposed to congregate. It's a spiritual house where we're supposed to be able to take care of each other's spiritual things and that's usually done together. So it's been very frustrating," De Benedetti said.

Father Duane Trombetta with sanitizing spray gun

Father Duane Trombetta with sanitizing spray gun

The rabbi added most of her congregates are 75 years old or older, putting them as the most vulnerable of the population.

"Like other churches, we found technology has been a blessing. It ended up being a wonderful thing and it gave us a lot of freedom to do many creative things," said De Benedetti.

As the COVID-19 vaccination roll out continues, more members of these local churches will begin to receive their dose, but it's a message from above that has helped even more get through this pandemic.

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