(WXYZ) — Another pandemic Easter, but this time churches are finding ways to gather in person with cases still rising.
"The mass is meant to be celebrated with a community of people," said Father Mario Amore with St. Aloysius Catholic Church in Detroit. "We’re so excited to be able to do that again this year as it should be.”
Fr. Amore is getting ready to welcome in parishioners Easter Sunday for mass, after pews across the archdiocese sat empty last Easter.
"There’s so much joy and excitement," Fr. Amore. "It’s really been two years since we’ve celebrated as a community.”
First Congregational Church in Royal Oak is also preparing to celebrate, choosing to hold their service outside in the parking lot due to the surge in cases.
“We have sat and watched the metrics of Oakland County within the context of our congregation and we just decided that it’s too risky to meet in our sanctuary meeting house,” said Reverend Carrie M. Orlando, Senior Minister with First Congregational Church of Royal Oak.
As for family gatherings, health officials are warning to keep it small especially for those not yet vaccinated.
“If you can gather outside and only with people in your immediate family, that’s the safest way to do things at this point in the pandemic with cases surging the way they are,” said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, Senior Public Health Physician for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
“We’re being conscious of obviously social distancing, we’re asking parishioners and guests to wear masks,” Fr. Amore said.
After sitting at home last Easter, church leaders are excited to finally see smiling faces this Easter. Even if those smiles are hidden behind a mask.
“The church is not the building, the church is the people," Rev. Orlando said. "For the church to gather and worship on Easter is pretty special for all of us, we’re looking forward to it.”