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San Diego Churches Will Be Mostly Empty On Easter Sunday

The San Diego Diocesan Pastoral Center, headquarters for the Roman Catholic C...

Photo by AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi

Above: The San Diego Diocesan Pastoral Center, headquarters for the Roman Catholic Church in the San Diego Diocese, Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2007.

Local religious communities are facing an Easter Sunday with empty houses of worship thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Social distancing to control the coronavirus in San Diego County may be keeping churches from filling up Easter Sunday, but it is not stopping the celebration of Easter.

John Dolan, the Auxiliary Bishop SD Catholic Diocese performed a mass during a recent mass broadcast online.

“In the name of the son the father and the holy spirit, peace be with you.”

San Diego County’s nearly one million Catholics got dispensation to miss in-person mass, but they don’t have to go without their spiritual connection.

RELATED: Passover Celebrations Take Shape Differently To Work Around The Coronavirus

“The Eucharist is not lost it is still celebrated,” said Dolan, during the Thursday Mass uploaded to the Catholic Diocese website. “And even as we think of the reality that we’re unable to celebrate the washing of the feet, which is a symbol or an act of charity, think of the many people who have found means, have found ways to act charitably even though they were in their own homes.”

The Catholic Diocese had hoped to keep churches open when the governor first ordered strict social distancing restriction a few weeks ago, but that changed.

“We’re doing everything we can, whether it’s through our schools or our parishes to stay closed and promote best practices that we can with respect to the shutdown orders and the shelter in place orders,” said Kevin Eckery, a Diocese spokesman.

Other congregations are also taking advantage of the internet to reach their congregations.

The Rock Church in San Diego was already using the internet to reach out before social distancing. That’s now the only option for Pastor Miles McPherson.

RELATED: How San Diego Religious Communities Are Dealing With COVID-19

Sermons begin with a highly produced musical introduction and then McPherson takes center stage.

“How you doing Rock family,” McPherson tells his online audience in this youtube video. “God bless you all (clapping) Happy Sunday, Happy Sunday, we are having communion today. If you’ve been following us every week we’ve been talking about having communion today.

McPherson wants to keep a personal connection and offer hope.

“They’re realizing that they need God more than ever before,” McPherson said. “I think society realizes that the banking system, the stock market, their jobs, ah, the way we do life is not dependable.”

The church's large multi-million dollar facility is not welcoming worshipers to services, but there are ministers who come to preach and volunteers that come to help with service projects like making protective masks.

Listen to this story by Erik Anderson.

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Erik Anderson
Environment Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI focus on the environment and all the implications that a changing or challenging environment has for life in Southern California. That includes climate change, endangered species, habitat, urbanization, pollution and many other topics.

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