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Editor's Viewpoint

High point of the Christian year will be like no other in living memory but people's faith is still vibrant and alive

Editor's Viewpoint


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Bishop of Down and Connor Noel Treanor officiates at the Mass of Chrism in an empty St Peter's Cathedral in west Belfast

Bishop of Down and Connor Noel Treanor officiates at the Mass of Chrism in an empty St Peter's Cathedral in west Belfast

Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press E

Bishop of Down and Connor Noel Treanor officiates at the Mass of Chrism in an empty St Peter's Cathedral in west Belfast

This is the most unusual Easter weekend in living memory, and even beyond that, with all the churches closed at one of the highest points of the Christian year. This is due to the regulations on social distancing to help to prevent the spread of the deadly coronavirus,.

It is particularly sad that at a time when many people are fearful of the virus, it is not possible to go to their church to enjoy Easter greetings, and much-needed reassurance. It is just not the same as in previous years, but the clergy and laity are rising to the challenge. They are providing a steady stream of online services for their congregations and for others who rarely attend church.

Some older people are not able to use the latest technology, and the churches are keeping in contact with them by phone, which is good.

Many of the churches continue to reach out to the wider community and offer help in all kinds of ways .

This is a difficult time for the clergy, as our report in today's newspaper confirms. They need to provide shared worship, and they also need to contact the sick and to bring comfort as best they can. This is a challenge, for a minister's job is to be present as a pastor to hurting people.

It is also extremely difficult for clergy to provide comfort for families during their bereavement because of social distancing required at funerals, and this is heart-breaking for relatives. The clergy themselves find this difficult to handle.

Despite the challenges, the churches are still at the heart of our society. Indeed the online services are also bringing a different dimension to the traditional concept of church and community life.

So as we approach Easter Sunday people are adjusting to their closed churches, but they are making the very best of a difficult situation. The churches may be closed but spiritually the Christian faith is very much vibrant and alive during this most important weekend of its entire calendar. That, indeed, is a cause for great rejoicing.

Belfast Telegraph