A more familiar Palm Sunday: Church-goers reflect on pandemic’s impact on in-person services and return to sense of normalcy
MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) – For many who celebrate Palm Sunday, the day looked very different in 2020.
Holy Week for Christians was among the first holidays disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic last year. Churches adapted, some with services where worshippers stayed in their cars while others used livestreams of mass.
“A year ago, at home watching on TV with nobody in the church but Father and some helping him,” Gary Branger of South Milwaukee told CBS 58. Branger and his wife Debbie were among those who attended Palm Sunday mass on March 28 at the Basilica of St. Josaphat.
The early days of the pandemic led to an uncertain outlook.
“I think last year I was worried and scared and it was very unknown,” Debbie Branger told CBS 58.
Mariana Rodriguez, who also attended mass at the basilica, echoed that sentiment.
“It was very difficult,” Rodriguez said. “It was difficult not coming to church.”
But with people back in the pews this year, there was a sense of normalcy.
“There’s nothing like community and being around other people close, you don’t know them but we’re all there for one purpose and so coming back today was really an amazing experience,” Rodriguez said.
With the start of Holy Week, the return of spring and the ramping up of vaccination efforts, the outlook this year is more optimistic.
“As we look at it now, very hopeful,” Rodriguez said. “It was a very beautiful mass, I felt a great deal of emotion and a sense of somewhat security that we might be getting in a better place.”
“This year I just feel so hopeful with all the people I see at mass today and I just feel really blessed,” Debbie Branger said.
“Just so blessed to be where we are right now,” Gary Branger said.