‘May this Easter give us added strength to overcome Covid-19’: PM Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday wished the country on Easter, hoping the occasion “gives us strength to overcome coronavirus disease Covid-19”.
“Best wishes to everyone on the special occasion of Easter. We remember the noble thoughts of Lord Christ, especially his unwavering commitment to empowering the poor and needy. May this Easter give us added strength to successfully overcome COVID-19 and create a healthier planet,” PM Modi said on Twitter.
Easter marks the resurrection of Jesus Christ following his crucifixion on Good Friday. It also marks the culmination of Lent, a 40-day period of fasting and penance.
This year, the coronavirus pandemic has muted the public cheer on Easter, with no public gathering and all the priests issuing video messages for the faithful.
Pope Francis urged people to “not yield to fear” and focused on a “message of hope” as he led an Easter eve Mass in an empty St Peter’s Basilica on Saturday amid the coronavirus pandemic and called for an end to wars.
The vigil, which normally takes place in a church packed with about 10,000 people, was attended by only about two dozen, including a few altar servers and a smaller-than-usual choir. Because of the coronavirus outbreak, it was scaled back to eliminate several traditional features, such as the baptism of adult converts and a long procession up the main aisle of Christendom’s largest church.
In India too, the Easter midnight prayers were held without an assembled congregation keeping with the restrictions in place due to the nationwide lockdown.
“Celebrating the Holy Week without a congregation of the faithful is painful. The Covid-19 outbreak and lockdown has forced us to celebrate it within the church. But we are hopeful that the resurrection of Jesus Christ will give us the hope that we will overcome this situation and we will get the remedy for it soon,” Father Walter de Sa, Parish Priest of a Goa church told news agency ANI.
Churches in Maharashtra, the worst-hit state due to Covid-19 pandemic, wore a deserted look. A few of them have even locked their doors.
On April 21 last year, devotees had gathered at churches across India at midnight on Easter. Churches were decked up with flowers as people attended the ceremonial midnight mass to offer prayers in devotional fervour.
However, this year, live-streaming of services is being done at several churches amid 21-day Covid-19 lockdown, which was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 24.
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- Sixty-three-year-old Sasikala who also suffers from hypertension, diabetes and hypothyroidism was admitted to hospital with cough and fever.