Worldwide, Christians celebrated one of their most joyous feast days by singing hymns wearing facemasks on a second Easter Sunday marked by COVID pandemic precautions.
Worshippers followed all the regulations from vast Roman Catholic cathedrals to Protestant churches.
In Italy, a hospital gave a traditional dove-shaped Easter cake symbolizing peace to each person waiting to get vaccinated, according to AP News.
In Israel, pilgrims were not allowed to gather in large numbers due to travel restrictions and quarantine regulations. Pope Francis lamented that the ongoing pandemic has prevented some worshippers from going to church and attending services.
Crowds have been banned from gathering in Italy and at the Vatican.
Francis delivered his noon Easter address on world affairs from inside the St. Peter’s Basilica, appealing that vaccines must reach the poorest countries.
He said, “We pray that these restrictions, as well as all restrictions on freedom of worship and religion worldwide, may be lifted and everyone be allowed to pray and praise God freely.”
Yoido Full Gospel Church, South Korea’s biggest Protestant church, allowed only around 2,000 people to attend Easter service. Masked worshippers sang hymns and prayed as the service was broadcast online and by Christian TV channels, according to AP News.
The Italian government ordered people to stay home this weekend except for essential errands in order to curb surging infections. Italy, however, permits religious services in the pandemic if capacity is limited and masks are worn.
Filipino-American curator, Tonee Sinsay-Carpio, said physically being in St. Vincent de Paul Church in Austin, Texas, meant a lot to her after services last year were offered only online, per AP News.
She said, “When you’re inside a church, you become more solemn, you can focus on God.”
In Florida, Eastgate Christian Fellowship in Panama City Beach hosted its annual sunrise service on the beach, according to the AP News. The church scrapped the service last year because all beaches were closed due to the pandemic. The article was originally published Sunday on AP News.