Coronavirus In Pennsylvania: Religious Communities Are Feeling The Distance While Remotely Celebrating Holy Week

Coronavirus In Pennsylvania: Religious Communities Are Feeling The Distance While Remotely Celebrating Holy Week

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Sunday is the beginning of Holy Week, which is viewed as one of the most sacred times of the year.

For the safety of people during the coronavirus, many houses of worship are currently closed.


The Sunday church bells are usually followed by a congregation, but, for almost a month, many churches have sat empty.


“It’s tough. It’s sad,” said one lady who stopped by St. Paul Cathedral in Oakland.


Palm Sunday was no different.


St. Paul’s doors were locked with a message saying the church is closed. There was no congregation to received the traditionally blessed palm.


“Tried to think of something palm symbolic that I could bring,” said a lady who left behind tall grass leaves.


To reach out to their congregations, churches continue to use technology. The Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh live-streamed Bishop David Zubik’s mass from St. Paul Seminary in the West End.


“First of all whether you are near or far, I just wanted to say how blessed it is today as we begin this Holy Week,” Bishop Zubik said during his homily.


Meanwhile, in the Hill District, the Wesley Center AME Zion Church took their services to the streets.


“The church is grieving because we haven’t had services in 3 Sundays,” Rev. Glenn Grayson said.


Rev. Grayson stood along Centre Avenue in a mask and gloves handing out communion and palm.


“It’s not conventional, but it’s been wonderful and fulfilling for me,” he said while passing out the palm.


Even though the pews may sit empty during Holy Week and into Easter, church leaders feel the church’s message will fill their congregation’s hearts.


“Maybe you cancel it physically but spiritually Easter goes with us all year long,” Rev. Grayson said.