LEBANON — During the pandemic shutdown, Father Peter O’Brien livestreamed daily and Sunday Masses, visited hospice and gave last rites at the local hospital. He did what a priest does — serving communities in Lebanon, Jefferson and Scio.
At the same time, he and a maintenance man used spare time to remodel the interior of St. Edward Church.
“It looks pretty good,” said Father O’Brien, who relied in woodworking as a way to stay grounded during seminary at Mount Angel. Last year, he built some of the furniture for the new St. Anne Church in Grants Pass. This spring, he turned to the church where he is pastor.
Parishioners had been asking that the tabernacle be moved to a more central location. That was part of the renovation, as was a high stone wall where the crucifix hangs.
A main problem with the public Mass closures and limitations has been the need to delay funerals, weddings and initiation of those who are becoming Catholic, Father Peter said. But he sees progress as Linn County plans to enter phase 2 of reopening this month.
“Thanks be to God,” the pastor said. “We are moving along.”