For many U.S. Christians, this weekend marks the first time since 2019 that they will gather in person on Easter Sunday, a welcome chance to celebrate one of the year’s holiest days side by side with fellow congregants.
The pandemic erupted in the country in March 2020, just ahead of Easter, forcing many churches to resort to online or televised worship. Many continued to hold virtual services last spring after a deadly winter wave of the coronavirus and as vaccination campaigns were still ramping up. But this year more churches are opening their doors for Easter services with few COVID-19 restrictions, in line with broader societal trends.
Among them are Catholic parishes in the Archdiocese of Boston, which since last June has once again required most churchgoers to attend Mass in person — though those with health risks may still watch remotely, and pastors have been asked to make space for social distancing in churches.