Worshippers at a historic Belfast church say while they understand the fears of those who have yet to return to the pews, for them that day could not come soon enough.
Lunchtime at St Mary's on Chapel Lane yesterday was a hive of activity as a large number of the faithful gathered - at a safe distance - for the 1pm daily Mass.
St Mary's dates back to 1783 and was the first Catholic church in the city centre.
Its outside grotto reopened for private prayer two days before the church itself in mid-May, and parishioner Bridget Burns was among the first there.
"It was wonderful to get back and we needed it. It is food for the soul," Bridget said.
"I'm not online so I couldn't even watch Mass at home, and I felt totally cut off at first when the churches all closed. Some of my neighbours then got a loud speaker, which they connected up to the parish webcam so on Sundays we could sit outside and hear it.
"That was wonderful."
While fellow parishioner Maureen McMahon was able to avail of online Mass, for her it just was not the same.
"I had no hesitation about coming back to Mass in the church when it resumed because for me there's nothing like the real presence," she said.
"Fr Tim (Bartlett) has had the church so well laid out that we haven't been on top of each other by any stretch of the imagination. We are spaced out, we keep our distance and the precautions have been very good.
"I was so glad to get back as soon as the doors reopened but I know that quite a number of people haven't returned yet.
"There is still real fear out there, but I think they will come back again."
Mother and daughter Anne McAllister and Christine Corrigan also missed being physically present due to the lockdown. "I think quite a lot of people have come back to their faith after all that has happened in the past few months," said Christine.
"I watched my own parish webcam (in Antrim) during the lockdown and I was logging in several times a week as well as on Sundays, so I found I was becoming more involved. Despite that I was keen to return to church as soon as I could."
Anne added: "I come here most days and the moment the doors reopened I was down.
"Anybody who believes that the true presence is there will want to come back in person.
"And I think the numbers will improve as time goes on and once people feel safer because it's still early days."
Sean Nellis said he believed going back was better than watching online. "I think it's up to each person as how they think and how they feel," he said.
"I can understand that some people may feel that they are in danger, but if they had been going previously I don't see why they should stop because of Covid. For me, watching Mass online would not be the same."
It has been six months since our lives were turned upside down and new forms of language — ‘lockdown’, ‘R number’, ‘social distancing’ and ‘bubbling’ — entered our collective vocabulary.