Churches celebrate first Easter Sunday in over 2 years without COVID-19 restrictions

For the first time in more than two years, churches across Minnesota opened their doors for Easter Sunday without any mandated COVID-19 restrictions.

The Basilica of St. Mary in downtown Minneapolis had standing-room-only services for services Sunday, according to Basilica Director of Worship and Sacred Arts Johan Van Parys.

“We had to put extra chairs out,” Van Parys said. “And the other thing is, it’s not just great numbers, but people were so excited to be back in church.”

Van Parys said there were four services on Easter Sunday, and the combined attendance was close to 3,000 people who were eager to attend a service on one of the holiest of days in the Christian faith.

“And, also in the Catholic tradition, there is people process, and kneel and genuflect and we use incense and candles,” Van Parys said. “And so it’s very olfactory and the senses are very important in the celebration, and so that’s what we were able to do.”

Van Parys said the last time he witnessed such an emotional service was after the terrorist attacks of 9/11.

“That night the church was packed, and it was not only Catholics, but it was people of all different walks of life who gathered here with that sort of intenseness,” Van Parys said.