Welcoming Back the Faithful Safely

Beverly Jackman uses an ultraviolet sanitizing spray gun to clean pews at Holy Family Parish, Latrobe.

Welcoming Back the Faithful Safely

Photos and Story by Mary Seamans
Multimedia Coordinator


By the time Holy Family Parish, Latrobe, reopened its doors for in-person worship last summer, dozens of volunteers were armed with cleaning supplies to ensure their church was sacred and safe for the faithful returning to Mass.

Ryan Coyne, Director of Evangelization and Youth Ministry, said he could not be more proud of the efforts of parishioners who volunteered for the new cleaning ministry.

“The safety and the sanctification of their community has been our primary concern. And so, after the pandemic hit, we took into consideration and put into effect the advice and guidance of the Diocese and health officials to create a clean and safe environment,” he said.

“The church, including all open pews, doors and surfaces, is sanitized and given a thorough, deep cleaning once a week.”

This allowed Holy Family Parish to minister to the community and worship in person as brothers and sisters in Christ.

Parishioners also founded a meal ministry. Several people received ServSafe certification through the Pennsylvania Department of Health, ensuring each had an in-depth understanding of proper food handling during the pandemic. Then they cooked and served hundreds of meals each week during the summer of 2020 and again during Lent this year.

“We initially figured we would do it for people who couldn’t make it financially because they were out of work,” said Gerry Baldonieri, who served as a volunteer cook. “Then we figured that there are people who have been quarantined and don’t go out. Maybe they just need to get out and get a meal that they didn’t have to cook and maybe see some people while they’re picking it up.”

“I really enjoyed my time outside handing out the meals,” said Charlene Nicholson, another volunteer cook. “I got to meet so many people from the Latrobe neighborhood. People would come on foot, and they would come by car and would sit for an hour and a half at least, waiting for us to bring the food out.

“They would park along Ligonier Street as far as the eye could see. The volunteers who came to help in the kitchen were all so happy to be there. It gave them a purpose and gave them great joy to help other people.”

Holy Family Parish was one of several parishes highlighted in the “Be The Light” appeal, a fundraising effort to support the Diocese and its parishes, schools, missions and ministries during the pandemic. Prayerfully consider participating in what we call the Diocesan Lenten Appeal. Even a small gift can go a long way. Visit DioceseofGreensburg.org/BeTheLight and Be The Light for your faith community.

Parishioners prepare meals for community members during Lent.


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