I was hopeful; things in Louisiana are going well in the Coronavirus arena; numbers down, positivity rate low and, as a state, we are among the national leaders in folks getting vaccinated. Surely, no time to declare victory but in the right direction. So, as we noticed more and more folks coming back to Mass, I thought we might have nice attendance for the high holy days. Make no mistake, we still require masks and we employ a disinfecting spray throughout the days when we have mass. Now remember, we need to go back two years to gauge things like this because last year we were on lockdown. We celebrated all the events of the triduum and Easter without any folks in the pews and learning the ropes about live-streaming and transferring videos to social media.
So let's begin with Holy Thursday, a special liturgy that, for me, is one of the most significant of the whole liturgical year. I love everything about the special touches for Holy Thursday including the procession to the altar of repose and the stripping of the sanctuary. For us, we had a good turnout, very similar to previous Holy Thursday masses. While we did shorten our time for Adoration, we had good turnout for the two hours, perhaps slightly lower than 2 years ago. Then comes Good Friday, a very impressive turnout for the 3 pm service of the Lord's Passion and Veneration of the Cross but I was super thrilled to see the crowd that returned to church for the 6 pm Stations of the Cross. On this Good Friday evening we probably had our best crowd for all the Fridays of the Lent. We arrived at our Saturday Easter Vigil, again, the most profound liturgy of the year that normally includes Baptisms, Professions of Faith and Confirmations. Because this Mass cannot start before dark, it's late and it lasts 2 + hours. So attendance at the Easter Vigil is always smaller than other Masses for Easter and this year was no exception. However, it was easily about the same amount of worshippers as previous Easter Vigil Masses. Often the attendance at this Mass depends on the number of catechumens and candidates we have; this year we just had one.
Easter morning dawns beautifully and right off the bat the 8 am mass is very well attended. Now I know what you are thinking; don't we always have a few more people at Easter? Well, of course but the church was fairly full and everybody had their masks. 10 am was also very full. Easter Sunday felt like "old times" despite the ongoing pandemic. And to make sure we got as many folks as possible to participate as best they could, we live-streamed every Mass. It was exciting to see so many people return, to be responsible and to remember what Mass looked like before this horrible virus.
How was the turnout in your neck of the woods?
And I pray everyone keeps coming back! God always intended for worship to be in community. We will be ready for you if you are ready. Wear your masks, social distance as best you can and we will continue to use the disinfectant in the church!
We will always give proper worship to God in this holy space in the heart of Abita Springs.