LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - As more people get vaccinated, the next round of holidays appear to look better than they did this time last year.
Passover started Saturday, Palm Sunday was Sunday. Holi ends Monday, Easter is this weekend, and Ramadan starts in about two weeks.
During Easter 2020, people faced COVID restrictions worshiping from home and services went virtual.
The Archdiocese of Louisville said it’s a relief to be have churches open for Easter 2021.
“If you feel like you can come, please come,” Karen Shadle, Director of Office of Worship for the Archdiocese of Louisville said. “To celebrate a big event like this, his is the holiest time of year for us. To see people coming back slowly but surely it has relieved a lot of anxiety.”
Places of worship opened back gradually throughout the year with social distancing guidelines and masking. That will still be the case this Easter.
The Archdiocese of Louisville said a lot goes into organizing services for major holidays, and they learned a lot from Christmas services.
For Easter services, they are expecting bigger crowds since many are getting vaccinated.
“For our larger liturgies like Easter Sunday, a lot of parishes are adding additional masses so we can spread out and some are doing reservation systems,” Shadle said.
Parishes such as St. Boniface are taking reservations. their Easter Sunday Mass at 11:00 is already full. Many other churches are offering extra space.
“Overflow spaces with a simulcast for holy communion, so holy communion can be brought to the other location on campus,” Shadle said.
Many churches will continue to live stream services. The Archdiocese says there are things that won’t happen.
“One of the famous visuals of washing of the feet on Holy Thursday you won’t see that this year,” Shadle said. “You will still hear the story of that, but we won’t have that ritual because it involves physical proximity. Typically folks will come forward and touch or kiss the cross on Good Friday this year that touching and kissing is limited to the minister.”
Archbishop Joseph Kurtz issued a dispensation from the obligation to attend mass when the pandemic started, that remains in place.
As far as what you should do after church, Dr. Monalisa Tailor with Norton Healthcare said keep your gatherings small since many are in different phases of vaccination.
If you are having, for example, an Easter brunch, masks come off when we eat that small group is critical.
“I wouldn’t be doing big Easter egg hunts just yet again,” Tailor said. “That big group we are trying to avoid that. So if we are going to do a family small Easter egg hunt that is fine. Easter Bunny (visits) may still need some precautions there. The Easter Bunny would see a lot of kids and a lot of adults coming through.”
If you aren’t comfortable with going to church, many locations are offering virtual services as well.