WINDSOR, ONT. -- Ste. Anne Roman Catholic Church in the Town of Tecumseh has re-opened to the public.

The historic church celebrated its first weekday mass on Wednesday morning with parishioners inside, amidst the global Covid-19 pandemic.

“We were nervous, we didn’t know what to expect as far as how many people would come.” Fr. Patrick Beneteau says 70 people were present and that seven had to be turned away after the church reached its new 30 per cent temporary capacity.

“Our main goal here is yes, re-opening, but also keeping people safe and healthy and not to spread the virus, so we’ll do whatever is needed in order to make that happen,” he said.

Parishioners are encouraged to wear a mask, physically distance and avoid physical contact. The holy Eucharist is still being presented, but people must step six feet aside and remove their mask before receiving it.

Fr. Beneteau says weekday mass admittance is on a first-come-first-serve basis, noting online reservations are required for weekend service.

“This is the first time we re-opened after a global pandemic so we’ve never done this before,” he said.

Last week the Diocese of London asked ‘for patience’ as it prepared to reopen churches across Southwestern Ontario.

Officials say they’re finalizing directives on its website for churches to follow, adding several parish priests were briefed on new safety protocol this past Monday.

The diocese expects to compile a list of catholic churches that are re-opening by weeks’ end.