Easter and Passover canceled: Coronavirus pandemic upends ancient traditions

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Coronavirus shutdowns are forcing historically unprecedented changes to celebrations of Easter and Passover, with many religious institutions canceling or moving their services online. Easter, the most important feast in Christianity, falls on April 12 this year. In the Catholic Church, where the day is preceded by Holy Week, which includes a series of special Masses and other services, several dioceses are already canceling the public celebration of those events. Catholic bishops in Ohio on Monday decided to cancel all public Easter Masses in the state, a decision made in keeping with Republican Gov. Mike DeWine’s ban on all public gatherings of 100 or more people. The Diocese of Brooklyn on Wednesday made the same decision after a Eucharistic minister in a Queens church, along with six other parishioners, tested positive for the coronavirus. The Eucharistic minister had last distributed communion at an Ash Wednesday Mass, which draws some of the biggest yearly crowds for Catholic churches.


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