Church leaders in Ireland are calling on the government to take the spiritual needs of the population into consideration, noting the country is the only one in Western Europe to continue to ban public worship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
When Catholic churches nationwide reopened last summer after a months-long hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, parishioners followed along empty handed, as the missals typically found at each pew were removed so people wouldn’t touch the same surfaces.
According to a new poll by the Pew Research Center, more Americans say the coronavirus pandemic has strengthened their religious faith than those in 13 other nations that possess what Pew called “advanced economies.”
Archbishop John C. Wester said a decision to close Catholic churches in the Santa Fe Archdiocese for indoor worship amid a new wave of COVID-19 cases in New Mexico “is both prudent and necessary.”
Over the weekend, the heads of European bishops’ conferences held a virtual pow-wow to discuss the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on both the Church and society, highlighting new forms of poverty and reduced numbers at Sunday Masses as key areas of concern.
On May 12, the Vatican announced that with public Masses set to resume in Italy this weekend as coronavirus restrictions ease, Pope Francis’s daily Masses at the Vatican’s Casa Santa Marta guesthouse will no longer be livestreamed.
As if Italy hasn’t been through enough since a sweeping national lockdown was imposed March 8, and with more than 30,000 Italians dead from the coronavirus, Romans awoke around 5:00 a.m. May 11 to an earthquake. A loud boom sent people into the streets in their pajamas under an early morning rain, temporarily forgetting their masks and gloves.
Exactly 70 days after public Mass was last celebrated in Italy, the Holy Father’s own backyard, the Italian bishops announced May 7 a deal with the government to resume the liturgy on Monday, May 18, which means the first Sunday Mass to be reopened will be May 24, which in Italy is the Feast of the Ascension.
This year’s Holy Week celebrations resulted in a major spike of new viewers tuning in to watch Vatican liturgies — an increase from 1.5 million online viewers last year to 5.5 million this year — and a trend matched by ordinary parishes throughout the world forced to go virtual during the COVID-19 pandemic.
When public Masses and the celebration of the sacraments resume in dioceses where they were suspended, the look and feel of worship are not expected to be that which parishioners have been accustomed.