Churches balance security concerns with openness this Easter

Local News

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Security at houses of worship is once again a priority with Easter services taking place this weekend.

Approximately 200 Catholics joined Bishop Robert Brennan in the traditional Walking Stations of the Cross in downtown Columbus Friday. Participants stop at 14 locations to pray and reflect on the suffering of Jesus as he carried his cross to his crucifixion.

Brennan said the fire this week at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris gives added meaning to this year’s Easter season.

“We see the spirit of hope that is rebuilt out of that,” Brennan said. “We see it not only in the rebuilding of the building but also in the hearts and souls of so many people there and around the world.”

While the fire in Paris is believed to be the result of an electrical short circuit, a New Jersey man is charged with attempted arson after walking into St. Patrick Cathedral in New York Wednesday night with gas cans and lighter fluid.

Bishop Brennan says such incidents can have a chilling effect.

“That’s reality, but again, we always believe that good triumphs over evil,” Brennan said. “So be vigilant but be ourselves. Be joyful.”

Many churches and synagogues have created safety teams and implemented security protocols in recent years. But security is not something Todd Gilmore thinks about when he goes to church.

“I don’t, I really don’t,” Gilmore said. When I go to our church at St. Pius in Reynoldsburg that’s not something I think about when I walk in there.”

And parishioner MaryAnn Graham says churches have to balance their interests.

“I mean all the churches are aware but we are open to people so it’s very difficult to exclude people,” Graham said. “And we have strangers who come that we don’t always know, especially in the holidays.”

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