NEW ORLEANS – After a church shooting that left more than 20 people dead in Texas, local places of worship are reviewing their own security measures.
Beyond prayer, many religious communities are doing more to prepare for emergencies, including shootings.
Pastor David Crosby is deeply saddened by the tragedy that occurred in Texas.
"I myself have a great problem getting into the mind of a gunman who would do something like this,” Pastor Crosby said.
Pastor Crosby leads the First Baptist New Orleans church where each Sunday about 700 people gather to worship.
"We have a uniformed officer in our lobby who is here each Sunday,” Pastor Crosby said.
Recent shootings have become a concern for religious leaders and changes have had to be made.
"There's no way to prevent it and I have asked every church in the archdiocese in New Orleans, as well as every school to have a plan,” Archbishop Gregory Aymond said.
Aymond leads the Catholic Diocese locally where there are about 300,000 members.
"The plan has to do with what would the ushers of hospitality do. It has to do with being able to stop the person as soon as we can,” Aymond said.
Aymond said each church’s plan is different, but it does not involve guns. According to Louisiana state laws, guns are also allowed in church with permission and a concealed carry permit.
Leaders also encourage congregants to be watchful.
"I think being a person who works and lives near New Orleans, I'm already more vigilante as it is,”
For some, being more alert comes as second nature. Principal at St. Ann’s School, Susan Kropog, warns teachers to carry their cellphones during mass.
"No one is afraid but we have changed to bring their cellphones and keep them on silent,” Kropog said.
As protocols may change, religious leaders point out that nearly every Sunday millions of services happen without incident.
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