After Being Unable to Spend Last Easter in Church, Faithful Flock to St. James Cathedral Basilica

Tags: Currents Brooklyn, NY, Crux, Easter, Faith, Holy Week, Queens, NY, St James Cathedral

By Emily Drooby

Glory to God rang out at the St. James Cathedral Basilica on Easter Sunday — the Lord has risen.

Having hope is an important lesson learned after a difficult year, one of pain and loss stemming from the pandemic.

“That’s what Easter is about,” Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn told Currents News. “It teaches us how to deal with the sin and death and evil that happens in the world.”

It has also been a difficult year for church attendance. The quarantine forcing closures for over three months. When churches finally could reopen their doors, it was only for a fraction of what they had before.

There was a fear. How would parishes rebuild their flock? Would parishioners return? And what would Holy Week, historically some of the most attended Masses and services, look like in 2021?

However, hope came in many forms this Easter, one of them was full pews.

“To see the Church coming back to life again, at the same time that we are celebrating the Resurrection, it’s very encouraging. And I think it’s a wonderful sign and symbol of the power of our faith,” said Father Bryan Patterson, pastor and rector of St. James Cathedral Basilica.

The Cathedral Basilica was as full as it could safely be. People traveled from all over to be there, like Shiloh Frederick who came from East Flatbush.

After missing out on being at church on Easter last year, she wanted this year to feel extra special.

“We are feeling more hopeful this year than last year, so we wanted to be in a church that kind of reflected that atmosphere,” she explained.

The Cathedral Basilica had full Masses and services during the entirety of Holy Week.

However, Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio said that they still have a ways to go to get back to pre-pandemic levels, especially since churches are still capped at half capacity.

It seems like from last night and this morning, what we have heard, it’s decent,” he said. “But again it’s not full. We are only at 50 percent capacity, so it will take time until everyone comes back.”

‘When people are ready and able to come back they’ll be welcomed,” added Father Patterson. “God is still God and God is still there for me, and I can still come back to God and God will always welcome me back. I think it’s important for people to know that God hasn’t gone anywhere.”