Easter Week about to begin

Rev Luigi Filippini, the diocesan priest of St. Anthony’s Church on Hilldale Road, will welcome parishioners to a 15 per cent capacity in both the main church and another 15 per cent in the hall tomorrow, for Palm Sunday services. Palms will be available in the church foyer for the celebration. Christians around the world celebrate Palm Sunday as the beginning of Easter Week which will continue to Easter Sunday on April 4. On Good Friday, April 2, Christians observe the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ and celebrate his resurrection on Easter Sunday.

Church services though Holy Week in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Thunder Bay have once again been adapted with safety measures set in place as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

All Roman Catholic churches are open for Easter Week services with varying limited capacities.

In Thunder Bay, churches in the grey zone can have a 15 per cent capacity in attendance. Those parishes with large halls can add an additional 15 per cent in the actual hall where parishioners can view the celebration via live stream.

Catholic diocese Bishop Fred Colli said all parishes in Thunder Bay have taken the necessary steps to readjust the seating in their churches to accommodate the 15 per cent capacity.

“Of course we are maintaining all the regular safety protocols with sanitizing ones hands as they enter the church, social distancing in the church itself and an taking the necessary precautions of cleaning and making sure everything is clean and sanitized between services,” he said. “We want to keep our people safe . . . that is the main concern.”

In the Thunder Bay surrounding district, overseen by the Northwestern Ontario Health Unit, churches are in a red zone which allows a 30 per cent capacity of parishioners at those services.

All masses will be at the regular times as they are through the year and there will be no children’s liturgy.

For Palm Sunday tomorrow, Colli said they looked at what would be the best way to distribute palms to parishioners.

“At the cathedral church, we are going to place the palms, before the service, in the pews for the people to pick up as they enter the pews. Therefore, there is less touching of the palms,” he said. “We thought that would be the best way instead of having people go through the bundle (of palms).”

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