The Catholic Universe can exclusively reveal that BBC radio will broadcast a Catholic service for Easter Sunday celebrated by Cardinal Vincent Nichols.
Plans were confirmed this week after being set in motion when the Covid-19 pandemic ended public worship last month.
“We are delighted that Cardinal Nichols has agreed to lead worship for BBC local radio listeners. It is something that we have been planning with the Catholic Church since the coronavirus outbreak began and it’s fantastic to see it come to fruition,” Chris Burns, head of BBC Local Radio, told The Catholic Universe.
“Easter Day is extremely important to all Christians and we are privileged to have the leader of the Catholic Church in this country sharing his thoughts with our audiences at this important time.
“Each week during the coronavirus crisis a different Christian denomination is leading service across all 39 BBC local radio stations. Among these are plans for more Catholic services,” Ms Burns added.
“Faith is a hugely important part of people’s lives and we want as many people as possible to be able to worship despite everything that is going on.”
The announcement came following lobbying by the Catholic Union for the BBC to broadcast Catholic services on Sundays amid the Covid-19 pandemic, but the broadcaster insisted that the plans had been in place long before the religious group penned a letter to BBC Director General Lord Hall asking for services to be made available to people in their homes.
Public services had initially been suspended by the bishops in England, Scotland and Wales last month following Government guidance on social distancing. However, last week churches and other places of worship were ordered to close their doors to visitors completely as efforts to stop the spread of the virus intensified.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols’ Catholic service for Easter Sunday will be broadcast at 8am on Easter Sunday, 12th April, on the BBC’s 39 local radio stations.
Picture: The BBC logo seen displayed on a mobile phone with an illustrative model of the Coronavirus displayed on a monitor in the background. (James Warwick/EMPICS Entertainment).