Places of worship remain at 50 percent capacity in Massachusetts

Hampden County

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) — Holy Week is a sacred time to the Christian Community, from Palm Sunday to Easter.

Palm Sunday, the day marks the beginning of Holy Week for Christians across the world leading up to Easter. And now it is the second season of lent during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Last year at this time, western Massachusetts churches were closed as case numbers increased, but this year as the state continues to reopen, lenten celebrations will still look different.

“People are wanting to celebrate Palm Sunday again. There is a joy of returning, but also a bit of a subdued celebration because of the pandemic,” St. Rose De Lima Parish Rev. William Tourigny said.

In Massachusetts, places of worship will have to remain at 50 percent capacity for services, as well as maintaining strict social distancing and mask-wearing.

And among other safety protocols for Holy Week, places of worship still cannot hold communal gatherings such as coffee or food hours before or after service, the distribution of palms will only be by ushers and no washing of the feet on Holy Thursday.

“Encourage people to persevere. I think the whole apostle mystery is really what we can learn through the pandemic, that there is a dying and that there will be a rising,” Rev. William Tourigny said.

St. Rose De Lima in Chicopee will be holding mass throughout Holy Week through Easter. Easter is on April 4 this year.

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