Holy Week transformed by coronavirus as many celebrate services online

Palm Sunday 2020, many Christians watched services from the palm of their hand, through a phone or computer, but that doesn’t make the start of Holy Week any less significant. Some say the COVID-19 pandemic has taught them faith is the most important thing they have.

Philadelphia Archbishop Nelsen Perez celebrated Palm Sunday for the first time in front of empty pews. Music played in the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul for an audience that was there in spirit. With many watching virtually, he said the church cannot be contained by the walls of the building. It’s all about the followers and their faith.


In Glenside, St. Luke the Evangelist even passed out palms for picking up so followers could participate from home.

“People want to get the palms, they want that physical experience of what we are going into for the next week,” said Deacon Kevin Potter.

“That’s the beauty of virtual services. It’s not stuck in four walls. You can actually reach thousands of people,” Jose Vaquez said.


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Both a beauty and a burden, the Haven Church in Burlington says it’s been a technical and creative challenge to keep people engaged online. Will and Jose saw their pastor stress over the switch from in person to virtual services.

That’s when they decided to organize a drive-by worship past the pastor’s home for members to show their thanks and support.

“We realize that our job as a church is to provide hope and faith. That’s what we bring to the table. While we have lost the NBA, we’ve lost movie theaters, we’ve lost loved ones and friends to this virus. Sometimes the only thing you have left is faith,” Vaquez added.


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