To ensure the safety of people, the U.S. Churches will not host in-person Easter Service Mass due to the coronavirus and how contagious it has become. It has caused considerable discussion amongst the Catholic and Christian community about how they should approach Easter services coming up this week. Also, the coronavirus will affect other holidays coming up in addition to Easter services, such as Orthodox Easter starting on April 19th and Ramadan which begins on April 23rd. The Pope has addressed the concerns of closing U.S. Churches by approving a different Mass plan to celebrate Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday celebrations. The Vatican Media will livestream these services online and through social media at scheduled times.
The Pope will lead a Mass in celebration of the Last Supper on Holy Thursday, April 9, at 6 PM (Roman Time). He will not celebrate the Chrism Mass on that morning due to the coronavirus; however, he will make sure to commemorate this mass once the protective measures/social distancing practices have been lifted. On Good Friday, April 10, Pope Francis will honor the Passion of the Lord at 6 PM (Roman time) in the basilica. Later that same day, he will observe the Way of the Cross on the steps of the basilica, overlooking the empty square. This is a break from tradition since the Pope would travel to Rome’s Coliseum for this significant prayer service. For the Easter Vigil, Francis will perform another mass at the altar of the Chair of St. Peter on April 11th at 9 PM (Roman Time). Finally, Pope Francis will celebrate the Mass of the Resurrection of the Lord in the basilica at 11 AM (Roman time).
For Benedictine students, Easter services will still occur on Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Vigil, and Easter Sunday. The University has sent out an email regarding these times and when to tune in for these celebrations.
It saddens me that several religious holidays have been dramatically altered by the coronavirus pandemic. However, this event will soon pass and life will start to change again. I do not know if life will go back to normal, but we are in a different stage of life right now. All we can do is be ready and stand together as it arrives.