Catholics began the holiest week of the Christian year today with shuttered churches as the coronavirus pandemic continues to ravage the world. Instead of parades and processions with palms symbolizing Jesus’ triumphant entrance into Jerusalem, Catholics marked Palm Sunday at home, praying alone or watching Mass on TV or online.
On Holy Saturday, April 11, as Christians contemplate Jesus lying in the tomb, Archbishop Cesare Nosiglia will lead a liturgy of prayer and contemplation before the shroud at 5 p.m. local time (11 a.m. EDT).
“Life is a gift we receive only when we give ourselves away, and our deepest joy comes from saying yes to love, without ifs and buts. As Jesus did for us,” Pope Francis said.
St. Joseph’s Health is furloughing some employees and reducing some full-time positions to part time as the coronavirus pandemic strains the health system and its income declines.
“This opportunity to pray together during the coronavirus pandemic offers a special moment of unity for the faithful during a time when communities throughout the United States and worldwide are physically unable to congregate for Holy Week and Easter because of COVID-19,” said a USCCB news release.