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DIGGING DEEPER: Catholic parishes set to open soon

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TUCSON - In light of the coronavirus pandemic, most Arizona churches have remained closed, including the Catholic Diocese of Tucson.

The question is, when will they reopen?

"The Catholic faith is like a community," said Dennis Alvarez, a Catholic Tucson resident. "It's a family, and you know, families hug, families touch and we can't afford to do that." 

It's been nearly two months since Alvarez and his family have been able to attend mass at San Cosme Chapel.

The tiny church in Barrio Viejo first held services in 1931 and was hand built by families living in the barrio.

"We grew up with the church in our background," Alvarez said. "Our families grew up with that, so it's kind of frustrating not to be able to go."

Even under the governor's stay-at-home order, churches have been allowed to operate. 

"The focus this entire time has been on lives - on saving lives, protecting lives, and slowing the spread," said Gov. Doug Ducey in an earlier press conference.

However, the Catholic Diocese said they currently have no set plan on how or when they will reopen.

Alvarez said he's okay with that.

"I think the Diocese has handled everything just the way it should have," Alvarez said. "I think it's still, it's wait and see."

San Cosme Chapel survived the Great Depression, wars, urban renewal, and god willing, the church will also survive the pandemic.

"It reinforces our faith, because we have to trust in one another, and we need to work at it as a family," Alvarez said.

Paul Birmingham

Paul Birmingham is an Investigative Producer for KVOA News 4 Tucson. He is a three time Edward R. Murrow award winner, native Tucsonan, and a proud Arizona Wildcat.

Lupita Murillo

Lupita Murillo is an investigative reporter. She is part of the Digging Deeper team that uncovers important issues focusing on crime that affects the community.

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