A couple of cathedrals in Kingston are gearing up for 2021 Easter services with a much different look.
This year marks the second that a pandemic shutdown has impacted Holy Week celebrations. With church capacity sharply reduced, St. Mary’s Cathedral, normally capable of accommodating 1,200, has been welcoming much, much fewer.
Rev. Shawn Hughes, the cathedral’s rector, says the 30-per cent COVID-19 capacity has now been cut in half following the province’s latest measures announced on Thursday.
“So now, to reduce that to 15 per cent for Good Friday and for Easter … that will be much more problematic to fit the people in that want to be here because there will be a lot more that want to be here,” Hughes said.
No one was allowed in the Catholic cathedral last year, but this weekend that will change, according to Hughes.
“Having some other than none is far better than that,” Hughes said.
“We pray for the day that the coronavirus will be conquered and it will be over and we can gather again as a complete family.”
Meanwhile, at St. George’s Anglican Cathedral, little touches like putting spring flowers near the altar added to the time of year. However, no one will see them in person after Friday.
The Ven. David Selzer is the Interim Dean at St. George’s.
“As of Saturday at 12:01 a.m., the same time as the province, … we will be in lockdown mode — what the diocese calls the ‘red phase’, which means there will no in-person services and a maximum of five people for video streaming until the end of April.”
While it’s disappointing, Selzer says it’s better to be safe than sorry — especially now.
“Public health is a huge priority and part of our faith,” Zelzer said. “What we believe in is that God gives us creation not only to celebrate, but to observe his restrictions and we need to honour that.”
Both cathedrals livestream their services and have done so throughout the pandemic.