With the CODIV-19 lockdown, people are coming up with alternatives to celebrate the Easter Week. This image being widely in WhatsApp shares creative ways of putting branch on the door of the house or on the window, to celebrate Palm Sunday, on Sunday April 5. “It could be any green branch you can get. This would help, despite the social distancing, to be connected as we enter into the Holiest of Weeks. Want to join? We may be physically isolated, but not separated. We are united as the members of the body of Christ. We are the Church. SHARE WE CAN DO IT,” the message read. (Source: WhatsApp)
Vishü Rita Krocha
Kohima | April 4
Even as Palm Sunday marks the beginning of the Holy Week, a most sacred time for Christians around the world, this is the first time believers in Nagaland won’t be able to gather as a congregation to observe this special Sunday. This year, Easter celebrations will be different as Christians worldwide spend Passion Week at home.
The lockdown has, however, inspired creative ways to observe Palm Sunday. “It is not an ordinary Sunday. We have a palm tree outside our home in Pfütsero, so we are going to get the palm leaves blessed by the parish priest and have a small family procession,” Rekha Rose Dukru says.
“This Holy Week is going to be different. There won’t be washing of the feet on Maundy Thursday and so many other things that take place during this time,” she states with a hint of disappointment. Because of the pandemic, retreats and other related events are being cancelled.
“Spiritually, it is a lot of loss for our people,” she states.
However, in the confines of her home, she still hopes to observe the Holy Week in the best possible way with her family and also plans to have the ‘Way of the Cross’ in their front yard on Good Friday.
‘Grace-filled Holy Week and Easter’
In a letter dated March 25, 2020, Bishop of Kohima, Most Rev Dr James Thoppil asked the Catholic Community in Nagaland to strictly follow the government advisories while stating that “we are responsible not only for our life but also the life of others.” The letter also stated that “this year our Holy Week and Easter celebration will be totally different from other years” while emphasizing that “as a faith community, our first response must be to turn to God.”
“We, through our prayer, seek God’s grace on all human endeavours to find ways to arrest and eliminate the pandemic. We need to be patient, prayerful, responsible, sensible and resilient,” it read.
Shift to online worship
For some, Easter means spending time with family but the lockdown has prevented many people from travelling home. “This Easter, I was supposed to be home to spend time with my family and friends and attending the Easter service at our church. Now, I find myself stuck in Delhi working out of my flat and connecting with family, friends and colleagues over the virtual world,” says Loreign Ovung, a lawyer working in Delhi.
She however adds “at the same time, I am grateful that my loved ones are healthy and that I still have a job when there are many who have lost their livelihood because of the current situation.”
“Thankfully, NCF Delhi has started online Church services via Zoom, so I plan to attend the online Palm Sunday service and I am hoping that the same will continue on Good Friday and Easter Sunday too,” she says.
“Of course a special prayer for wisdom for our leaders to deal with the situation and for courage and strength for the health workers who are risking their lives to keep us safe and for the families of those who have been tested positive with the virus,” she affirms.