Saskatchewan Examiner

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

The first pandemic Easter is celebrated without limitations in a Saskatoon church

First pandemic Easter is celebrated without restrictions in a Saskatoon church.

Key Takeaways:

  • For the first time in three years, churches across Saskatchewan could accommodate big crowds without being restricted by COVID-19.
  • According to epidemiologist Nazeem Muhajarine, Passover and Ramadan fell this weekend, putting many people in the province in close quarters.

For the first time in 3 years, churches across Saskatchewan welcomed large crowds of worshipers without being restricted by COVID-19.

According to Brenda Fitzgerald, director of administration at the Catholic Pastoral Centre in Saskatoon, Easter just doesn’t feel right without that sense of community.

“It is truly a time of joy after two years of not being able to join together during the holiest season of the year,” she remarked. “Being able to be more receptive to celebrating it together adds to how special it is.”

Fr. Gerard Cooper of the Cathedral of the Holy Family in Saskatoon was curious about the turnout at the enormous cathedral, which can seat up to 2,000 parishioners and at dinner tables throughout the city after mass.

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Cooper added, “It’s great to be back.” “Easter is, of course, the feast of feasts in our Catholic tradition. I believe we are most alive when we are united with family around the table.”

Since the province’s limitations were loosened in February, Fitzgerald said that attendance at Sunday services has gradually increased as more individuals have warmed up to being close to others.

“COVID is still present, as far as we know. And we anticipate and hope that our parishioners or members of our church community would exercise prudence and take the precautions they have always taken to protect themselves and their neighbors, “Fitzgerald stated the following.

Passover and Ramadan both fell this weekend, putting many people in the province in close quarters, according to epidemiologist Nazeem Muhajarine.

COVID-19 is quite present, according to Muhajarine. “It could be more prevalent in terms of a spread than at any other time during the pandemic.”

Without much in the way of reliable data, Muhajarine said anecdotes from healthcare workers about a shortage of suitable beds in hospitals and the University of Saskatchewan’s weekly study that shows a 743 percent increase in coronavirus detected in Saskatoon’s wastewater show yet another sign of the virus’s peaks and valleys.

First pandemic Easter is celebrated without restrictions in a Saskatoon church.
First pandemic Easter is celebrated without restrictions in a Saskatoon church. Image from Global News

“I expect the numbers to rise,” he said. “I believe that demonstrates what we might expect in the following weeks.”

According to the Ministry of Health’s weekly COVID-19 report, there were 403 patients with the illness in provincial healthcare institutions on Thursday, up from 354 the week before.

That number is just seven short of the province’s all-time high of 410, established during the week of February 6-12.

“People are being urged to take care. We don’t have access to all of the numbers. It is entirely up to us, “Muhajarine expressed her thoughts.

To keep transmission low, Cooper said the Easter service still includes some minor variations from what people may recall pre to the pandemic, such as bowing instead of shaking hands.

Cooper was pleased to learn that Easter can once again bring families together without having to do so via video call, thanks to some churches being able to space people out as well as take their measures to keep people as secure as possible.

Cooper explained, “I think those are just things that make us feel human in the most basic regular manner.”

Source: CTV News

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