NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Easter is one of the most important days on the Christian calendar, but churches across the area were empty Sunday.
People celebrated in very different ways, including streaming services online, CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez reported.READ MORE: COVID Progress: CDC Announces What Fully Vaccinated People Can Do
It was a surreal sight outside St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Barely a soul was seen.
Normally inside, the pews would have been filled with parishioners celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This year, however, due to the coronavirus outbreak the faithful could only watch the service online.
“We miss you, though. We’d rather you be here physically, and I hear you miss us, too, and are eager to get back to your parishes for Sunday mass. That’s good. That’s refreshing,” Timothy Cardinal Dolan said.READ MORE: Broadway Trombonist Leads Dozens In Virtual Performance To Inspire Young Performers On International Women's Day
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The Riverside Church had an elaborate and interactive Easter Sunday service available to watch on YouTube. Digital minister Jim Keat led the team that put the service together.
“Even though we are physically distant, we are still socially close,” Keat said. “Use the comments down below or the live chat feature on this video to say hello. Introduce yourself to the people around you.”
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The Morningside Heights church has live streamed its Sunday services for at least six years, but since in-person services had to be canceled, online participation has skyrocketed from about 200 people to more than 1,000 for each service. The Easter service included its first virtual choir, with members recorded in their homes.
“Virtual choirs are my favorite thing right now, because it lets you hear and see their smiling faces as we sing together,” Keat said. “We can have some sort of, you know, spiritual connection. But we really feel that concretely when we have people around us.”MORE NEWS: Meghan Markle's Admission To Mental Health Struggle Could Encourage Others To Seek Help, Expert Says
It’s a connection Rev. Keat said we all need this Easter season, to know we’re not alone and that God is with us, too.