Two years ago, sanctuaries were packed with faithful on the sacred Easter occasion. This year, they're back and they're grateful for the return.
- Well, another holiday being celebrated in quarantine. The CDC once again advising people to celebrate Easter by avoiding those large crowds and instead gathering loose people in their immediate household.
- But there are some alternatives. They suggest that you can still have some egg hunts, just outside, while wearing masks and staying six feet apart. They also recommend virtual religious services if they're offered. If you've been fully vaccinated, you can attend services in person, according to their guidance, as long as you wear a mask and social distance. You can also prepare and deliver a meal to a neighbor if you want to do a good deed today. And remember, outdoor celebrations are always safer than inside stuff.
- Well, Easter is the first holiday that will have been changed twice by the pandemic.
- Yeah. The White House Easter egg roll event was even canceled again. And New York's famous Fifth Avenue parade was canceled for the second time. But we are seeing some things return to normal, or at least for normal for this year's celebrations. Let's head to Mycah Hatfield, who's at the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart on St. Joseph Parkway downtown. Mycah, what are you seeing?
MYCAH HATFIELD: Hey, good morning, Stephen and Erica. Each person that we've spoken to this morning has told us how grateful they are to be physically in church this Easter Sunday. Today looks different than the last two Easters.
Last year, churches were empty. Two years ago, Co-Cathedral would have been packed with people trying to attend Easter mass. Today, there are masks and people are socially distanced, but they are just glad to not be watching church on a monitor.
We spoke to a couple as they left the 7:00 AM mass this morning, and the woman got emotional talking about coming back to church for the first time since the start of the pandemic. They waited until they had both been vaccinated, and have only been back about a month and a half. But being able to be in church, around people and their friends, especially this Easter Sunday, was extremely important for them. They tell me watching online is just not the same.
- It's so nice to see people because we've missed coming to mass, and having that consecrated space and the time with everybody else.
- Watching on TV is not the same at all as actually being here.
- Being there during the mass, and hearing the readings, hearing the homily, seeing your fellow Catholics--
- And being around friends. You know, it's hard not to be around friends.
MYCAH HATFIELD: And pews inside of Co-Cathedral were intentionally left open. The back of the church, all the pews are blocked off. And it wasn't packed, like you would expect. But the church tells us they do expect to have a decent turnout at all five of their masses today, on a COVID scale. They told us at their 7:00 AM mass, they had about 200 people.