Thursday, July 18, 2024

Island Roman Catholics celebrate Easter despite the COVID-19 threat


Easter is observed as the holiest time of the year among many religious communities around the world, as they celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ on the third day after his crucifixion. In San Pedro Town, the Roman Catholic Church observes the occasion every year with many scheduled events to honor Christ. This year, however, the celebrations saw a couple of changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The mass gathering was not allowed and during the annual procession, which usually sees hundreds of faithful Catholics participating on Good Friday, the religious walk witnessed the smallest procession, registering just a handful of persons during the anticipated event.

The usual elaborate sawdust carpet in front of the Catholic Church was absent this time, and services inside the church were limited to a small number of persons. On Thursday, April 9th, a mass reportedly took place with a handful of people. The following day, Good Friday, shortly after 4:30 PM a small procession was observed throughout the main streets of downtown San Pedro. The religious walk, which usually includes hundreds of persons, only included few people with men carrying a casket symbolizing the body of Jesus Christ, while women carried the statue of the mourning Virgin Mary. Good Friday is the most religious day in Catholicism as it is the day when Jesus endured agonizing suffering to deliver humans from their sins.

Faithful followers, who were not allowed to be part of the parade, were invited to view the small procession from their balconies. Many islanders did so and paid homage from the safety of their homes looking out from the homes’ balconies. After the procession, everyone convened in front of the church, where Catholic Priest Scott Giuliani sent a message of hope for all those in Belize and around the world celebrating Easter amidst the pandemic.

Other scheduled events for the weekend have been reportedly canceled. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to make its presence in Belize with three additional cases confirmed on Saturday, April 11th. A national quarantine went into effect later that day after 8 PM for a period of 14 days, in an effort to mitigate any potential spreading of the deadly disease.

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