Metro Detroit churches make drastic changes for Easter Sunday due to virus outbreak

Churches holding mass services online

DETROIT – Churches around Metro Detroit are facing great challenges from the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.

Worshipping under the stay-at-home order will look very different. Local 4′s Nick Monacelli spoke with Detroit’s archbishop about the drastic changes the church is making to still serve the faithful.

Detroit’s Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament is an icon on Woodward Avenue, and on Sunday, it would normally be backed with up to 1,000 people for an Easter celebration.

Instead, it will be empty. The archdiocese has been live streaming masses for the last several weeks and will do so again for Easter Sunday.

RELATED: List of churches in Metro Detroit offering religious services online amid coronavirus outbreak

“It’s very, very strange,” Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron said. “But like everybody else, I have to meet the challenge that’s coming with what’s going on and I’m trying to do my best.”

Vigneron said having mass in an empty church is one of the most unique challenges he’s faced.

“(It ranks) way up at the top,” Vigneron said. “Right up at the top because it’s about trying to help people respond and it’s about rethinking everything from the bottom up. It’s sort of reinventing it as you go along.”

Video crews from the archdiocese are focusing all of their energy on live streaming cameras positioned throughout the cathedral. Those in charge of the broadcast are in the basement.

“This is the shot that he knows to look into because this is different than a typical mass,” said Rick Giffin, of the Archdiocese of Detroit. “He’s not looking out into the congregation because there’s nobody there.”

For many people, attending church every Sunday is routine. But without that, is the archbishop concerned those routines won’t continue once the stay-at-home order is lifted?

“I am concerned,” Vigneron said. “But I also have a sense that this experience is going to help people appreciated Sunday mass all the more.”

While it might be difficult not to go to church Easter Sunday, remember that it’s critical for everyone to do their part to get through the coronavirus crisis.

Click here to watch Easter Sunday mass online.

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