Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, apostolic administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, said being unable to attend Mass in a community has made people realise how much they miss “celebrating the love that conquers every death”.
Celebrating the Easter morning Mass in the co-cathedral of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, the archbishop emphasised the importance of praying together as a family during the Covid-19 pandemic. The last time the Church of the Holy Sepulcher – which was closed to the public because of the coronavirus beginning on 25th March – was locked and closed to prayer for an extended period was in 1349, during the bubonic plague epidemic, known as the Black Death.
“Many centuries ago (the churches were closed), so the Christians sang and prayed in the family. Now…we are in a similar situation, with the churches closed, but I hope and want that at least now we can pray in the family as before,” said Archbishop Pizzaballa. “Jesus said: Where two or three people are united in my name I am there. We (normally) go to church to meet Jesus, but if in families we pray, Jesus is there.”
The archbishop celebrated Mass on 12th April in Arabic for the local Christian population. The Mass was broadcast and livestreamed to the community on Palestinian television and various social media platforms and websites, and only a handful of other clergy were allowed in the co-cathedral because of emergency Covid-19 precautions.
Picture: Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, apostolic administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, holds a protective mask as he enters the Church of the Holy Sepulcher on 9th April 2020, during the Covid-19 pandemic in Jerusalem’s Old City. On Easter, the archbishop said being unable to attend Mass in a community has made people realise how much they miss “celebrating the love that conquers every death.” (CNS photo/Ammar Awad, Reuters).