NEW YORK (CBSNewYork)Timothy Cardinal Dolan held public mass inside St. Patrick’s Cathedral Sunday for the first time since the coronavirus shut down New York City in March.

One by one, emotional parishioners filed in, CBS2’s Christina Fan reported.

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“I feel delighted, absolutely delighted,” one worshiper said.

In a time of great turmoil, the fabled church provided families with comfort and peace.

“The first thing that I did when I got back to the church was tears came to my eyes,” parishioner Joe Aquino said.

“Thanks everybody for all your patience and perseverance,” Timothy Cardinal Dolan said.

Dolan welcomed back the congregation and addressed the challenges the community has faced over the last three months, challenges MaKarren Alvarez said she wouldn’t have been able to overcome without her faith.

“We have a zoom meeting every night, praying the rosary every night for all the people to take out this virus, this violence, everything that is happening in this world right now,” Alvarez said.

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The church underwent a vigorous disinfecting and cleaning process before reopening. Attendance was limited to 25% capacity, but nobody was turned away. Signs instructed everyone to wear masks.

“I’m very happy mass has started again, and I’m looking forward to today,” Charles Alvarez said.

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St. Patrick’s Cathedral said it will continue live-streaming mass, but the parishioners Fan spoke to said being in the church in person gives them an overwhelming sense of peace.

“There’s a saying that when you go into church you can just leave all of our worries at the front door,” parishioner Karina Rustia said.

It’s a sacred place that parishioners say they are happy to finally have back.

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Under Phase 2 reopening, churches can hold mass, funerals, weddings and baptisms at reduced capacity.