Fewer restrictions, a sense of normalcy with return to in-person Easter services

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NISKAYUNA, N.Y. (NEWS10) – This Easter is certainly different than year’s past, but with less COVID-19 restrictions, people got a chance to return to some holiday traditions, including attending religious services in-person.

“This Easter, we’re here. It’s just wonderful to be able to see people and worship together,” said Sharon Maneri, a parishioner at St. Kateri Tekakwitha Parish.

Last year, Easter celebrations for St. Kateri parishioners looked dramatically different.

“We were in our family room with a table, with a crucifix, palms from Palm Sunday, and a candle, with an iPad, watching Easter mass,” Maneri explained.

COVID-19 kept the doors of the church closed for in-person mass until June. The parish’s pastor, Father Bob Longobucco, says while virtual Easter was a success, he doesn’t want to go back to what happened last year.

“Everything we do is based on being the Body of Christ. So when we’re together, we are who we are. If we’re not together, we’re not completely who we are,” he said.

Sunday’s crowd was the biggest the parish has seen since Christmas of 2019. While Easter mass is back in-person this year, there are still numerous precautions in place.

“Little things you might not notice, there’s no holy water in the fonts, there’s no hymnals that can be shared. We’re trying, still keeping all the restrictions we can to make this as safe as possible,” said Longobucco.

Even with mass looking different, there was still a feeling of community and a bit of normalcy.

“So many people I saw for the first time. They were telling me, I haven’t been here for a year. Tears would be in their eyes sometimes. I mean, it felt like coming home,” the pastor said.

Other precautions include mandatory mask-use and social distanced seating.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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