“The pastor of a Catholic Church in Kansas City, Missouri, had a woman arrested as she prayed with her children in the pews of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church for refusing to wear a mask, despite instructions in the church’s previous Sunday bulletin and the diocesan website stating that masks are required ‘except when remaining in the pew.’
The mother of 11 children, six of whom are adopted, said in an interview… She had arrived early and was praying private devotions with her husband and children when police arrived and arrested her, at the request of the church pastor, Rev. Gary Ziuraitis, C.Ss.R…
The bulletin issued by Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church on October 25 reads, ‘In accordance with diocesan rules and the current Kansas City ordinance, everyone must wear a mask in church, unless you are seated in your pew.’
The Kansas City police incident report says the pastor told the officers that the mother, whose name she wishes to remain anonymous, was not wearing a mask when she entered the church, and neither were her children.
The mother said that the keyholder of the church yelled at her and her children as they entered for not wearing masks, even though no one was in the church at the time. She continued on to a pew to pray the Divine Mercy chaplet with her children, after which, she reported, the pastor approached them, without wearing a mask himself, and told her that she would have to put on a mask or leave the church.
The police report says, ‘It is not the Police Department’s position to enforce the mask ordinance in KC, the Health Department does that here. It was [the pastor’s] request that we ask her to leave or arrest her for trespassing.’
The report continues, ‘About 7 pm the pastor called and relayed to the officers that in addition to the order by Mayor Lucas to wear a mask, it’s the policy of the Catholic Diocese that everybody inside the church wear a mask. There are several signs outside the Church indicating masks are required.’
Kansas City’s emergency order stipulates that ‘masks are required in all indoor public spaces where people can’t be six feet apart.’
The website of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph currently states, ‘The faithful are obliged to wear a mask upon entering the church and during the celebration of Mass, except when remaining in the pew [emphasis in the original] unless the local city/county health directives so require and for the brief moment of receiving Holy Communion.'”