Faith leaders urge changing Holy Week traditions due to coronavirus

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LAFAYETTE, La. — This holy week will be like none other Christians can remember. Faith leaders are urging everyone to celebrate alone, only with their household, and break or postpone some of our traditions.

“It’s very natural for us to want to get together with family and friends and loved ones during times of religious worship during times to celebrate holidays, but this year has to be different.,” stated Bishop J. Douglas Deshotel of the Diocese of Lafayette.

The message was clear across denominations, politicians, and police. The best thing you can do for yourself and your god is not gathering this holiday with anyone apart from those in your home.

Pastor Carlos Harvin, LCG’s Chief of Minority Affairs drew parallels with the waiting period to the crucifixion and other points in scripture, “In a lot of ways we’re celebrating Holy Thursday, and if you look at the Old Testament scripture you look at what Moses instructed the Hebrews it was a stay at home order.”

Crowded worship but also large crawfish boils and other activities of ten or more people are prohibited by Governor John Bel Edward’s order. Each is encouraged to continue but from a distance and within the confines of your own home.

“It’s hard for us in South Louisiana because we are a very tactile people,” admitted Bishop Deshotel. “We like to touch and shake hands and hug and kiss and all that, and it’s just against our nature, but we have to be disciplined and observe it for this short time to end the spread.”

Lafayette Mayor-President Josh Guillory did not want anyone to take the encouraging news of slowing cases this week and revert the progress made social distancing, “We have come so far. We have come so far as a parish. Let’s not do anything this weekend that would help spread the virus.”

Some pastors, such as Bobby Richard of One Church Acadiana, have seen the best out of these strange times, “This is making the church stronger than what she was before the crisis”.

But each is asking you to do whatever it takes to end it. Harbin encouraged, “Let us get through this rough spot and god will give us the victory.”

Some of their advice for those who will find social distancing this weekend difficult is praying, enjoying the outdoors, and finding a way to connect to your family and Church through the digital means.

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