SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – For many Siouxlanders, Easter Sunday will look much different this year.
Large gatherings with family and friends will be a distant memory.
Snow in the forecast means no traditional Easter egg hunts.
For area pastors and priests, pews usually filled to the brim will be empty.
“We hold 1,000 people here, and it’s empty, and there’s really a sadness,” Father David Hemann with Holy Cross Parish said.
While COVID-19 is affecting how folks celebrate the holiday, it’s not stopping the Easter spirit altogether.
“What we’re learning in this time is the church isn’t a building, the church is the people,” Father Hemann said.
Many churches have already embraced a new normal by live-streaming services throughout the Holy Week.
The Sioux City Diocese has been streaming services to help other parishes that don’t have the bandwidth to stream their own.
“It’s a bit of a learning curve,” Rev. Brent Lingle of Storm Lake St. Mary’s Parish said. “All of a sudden, we went from being priests and deacons, to being people who somehow had to know all about live-streaming.”
“Every day I give just a little bit of a, ‘Keeping Connected with Father David’ [online], and I’m putting some of our staff and other priests up there as well,” Father Hemann said.
Many churches also live-streaming morning devotions, live worship, and community prayer time. Tim White, pastor of Morningside Lutheran Church, tells KCAU 9 while they will also hold those online for now, the staff will host a special drive-thru Communion celebration on Easter Sunday.
“Staff said we’re going to do it. We’re just gonna do it, doesn’t matter what the weather is–it’s only for an hour,” Pastor White said.
The work of these religious leaders is part of the work being done by many churches across Siouxland to keep traditions alive amid uncertain times.
“Just hearing from people that they’re sad that they can’t be here in person, but in the same sense, also grateful that we’re doing what we can,” Rev. Lingle said.
“People are commenting, and emailing, and telling us that they so appreciate what everybody’s doing, and it’s really cool when people come together and make it happen,” Pastor White said.
Morningside Lutheran’s drive-thru Communion event will be held Easter Sunday from 9-10 A.M. in the church parking lot.