CLEVELAND — The coronavirus isn’t just creating uncharted territory for work and school, but for religious institutions, too.
“Especially right now, with all that people are going through, I think they need a sense of hope, a sense of normalcy and a sense of comfort," Father Bob Stec, of Saint Ambrose Catholic Perish, said.
It’s one of the holiest weeks of the year. But rather than greeting one another inside a church, millions of people across the nation will be worshiping Good Friday and Easter Sunday from home.
"We're just in a different moment where we need to find a new way to tell the timeless story," Fr. Stec said.
Stec said last year his church made major renovations to allow for live streaming of their masses. This year, he couldn’t be more grateful. “A thousand times I said thank you god we put in all the infrastructure we needed.”
According to research from the Barna Group, at least 58% of pastors across the nation plan to hold a digital Easter service this year. With 45% planning to live stream it and 13% planning to record a message to send to churchgoers.
“But the one thing we can’t do virtually, is really help people feel that sense of connection with each other,” Fr. Sec said.
He said not having that physical connection to your community during the Easter season is tough. So if you’re feeling lonely, or worried, Fr. Stec recommended calling your pastor, or even a friend.
"You're not going to walk through this alone. hope comes from knowing that god is with us. Hope comes from knowing that we journey together. We're going to walk through this together and we're all going to get to a better place together. Thank God for the technology that allows us to physically stay in touch with one another."
Some churches in across Northeast Ohio, including Saint Ambrose, are also celebrating Good Friday events from their parking lots. Many church leaders said they plan to monitor how close cars are parked to one another to maintain social distancing.