KOCHI: Palm Sunday, which marks the beginning of the Holy Week, was conducted in churches without the physical presence of parishioners in view of the Covid-19 threat and the lockdown. Instead, the ceremonies were either streamed live online or telecast on television for the faithful to take part from their homes. Processions of faithful carrying palm leaves were also not organised in view of the directives by the church heads to not violate the lockdown curbs. For many, the inability to attend the ceremony in person was a sad experience.
“This is the first time we attended Holy Mass via television. It was saddening to see empty pews. But, we had no other option,” said a faithful. In his Palm Sunday message, Syro-Malabar Church head Cardinal Mar George Alencherry said, “The Holy Week observance is beginning when we are going through a time of agony.
While we are far apart, our hearts are close and God is bringing us together through his love.” Alencherry was the main celebrant of the ceremony held at Ernakulam St Mary’s Basilica which was telecast live on the Syro Malabar Church’s YouTube channel. Metropolitan Mar Theophilos Kuriakose of the Jacobite Church was the main celebrant of the ceremony held at Malankara Syrian Orthodox seminary.
“Timings of the masses were announced beforehand via social media and WhatsApp so that laity could tune in on time,” he said. Metropolitan Vicar of Ernakulam Angamaly Mar Antony Kariyil was the main celebrant of the Palm Sunday ceremonies which were webcast live through the archdiocese’s YouTube channel from Bishop House here. Archbishop of Verapoly Joseph Kalathiparambil was the main celebrant of the Palm Sunday ceremony in Latin rite at St Francis Assisi Cathedral at Broadway here.