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Christian Churches Adjusting For Holy Week

Virtual Mass and drive-thru services are helping fill void for some congregations.

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Praying at home is nothing new.  Attending Mass from home, however, is something people are adapting to.

Christ The King Parish Catholic Church in Wethersfield has been conducting Mass virtually through Facebook and later uploading the video to YouTube.

“We've heard that parishioners on Sunday morning gather with their families and watch the Mass as a family at home,” said Father Nick Melo.

With Easter approaching the parish will handle Mass, including Saturday's Easter vigil the same way, although in shorter form.

“A number of parts have been cut out,” explained Melo. “We don't have the blessing of Holy Water. We don't have any baptisms or confirmations.”

COVID-19 has forced many congregations into the digital age. But that is not the only way churches are performing services. The Urban Hope Refuge Church, in Hartford, held services while people sat in their vehicles in a vacant parking lot last week.

“I pulled out the old bullhorn and gave the message and did some singing,” said Pastor A.J. Johnson

With cars parked 6 feet apart, Johnson led his congregation in prayer.

“Gave some palms out because it was Palm Sunday and then put communion on top of people's cars and they could reach out and grab the communion,” he said.

In Manchester, people have been circling the parking lot of Manchester’s Trinity Covenant Church this week. Celebrating Easter in a way that allows social distance, artistic renderings and scripture readings surround the property. The experience is titled, “Seven Words.”

“It’s basically seven sacred stations, engaging the seven final expressions of Jesus Christ on the Cross,” explained Pastor Diane Borden.

Instead of church pews, people remained in their cars. They drove, following a loop around the church, guided by the church’s website, with music assigned to each station.

“It’s just sort of background music to help mark the time,” said Borden. “When the songs up you move on to the next station.”

For Christians, the Easter message is one of rebirth. A message Pastor Johnson hopes people can draw from in these difficult times.

 “Just be encouraged that we are going to be resurrected out of this, someway somehow.”

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