They invite to place a palms on the doors of all the houses, and participate in the religious celebrations online
Even with churches closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, Erika Macías plans to live the best Easter week of his life dedicated to prayer and recollection in his home, next to his family.
"I am very hopeful that this will end soon, in the meantime we are going to walk with Jesus in the desert, carrying the cross," says Erika, a very devout Catholic who resides in the city of Montebello in Los Angeles County. .
For this Palm Sunday, she plans to place some green twigs at the entrance to her house to symbolize Jesus' triumphant entrance.
Catholics in Los Angeles are celebrating Palm Sunday, which ends Lent and marks the beginning of the celebration of Easter, placing green branches and palms on the front door of their homes.. Traditionally, they bring palms to churches to be blessed by priests during the celebration of mass.
"These green branches on the door will remind us that despite the physical social distance, Christian Catholics are connected in communion with the ceremonies of Holy Week, even in isolation," said Father Anthony Lee, pastor of the Holy Church. Agatha from Los Angeles in a message sent to her parishioners.
Palm Sunday is the day that Christians celebrate Jesus' entry into Jerusalem, and his acclaim as a child of God.
"These green branches will be a symbol that the Church is not closed, and that we as a community of believers are the Church. We may be isolated, but not separate"Summarized Father Lee.
His invitation was taken up by all the Catholic churches of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
For the first time in the history of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, due to the health contingency of COVID-19, Easter will be celebrated virtually. The way of the cross for immigrants and the blessing of animals that take place every year in the Church of La Placita Olvera have been canceled.
In compliance with instructions from local and state authorities, since March 16 masses were suspended in public; and on March 24, the closing of all churches was called.
The Archdiocese of Los Angeles has encouraged Catholics to join in prayer during Holy Week through Masses that will be broadcast live starting on Palm Sunday, April 5.
Archbishop José H. Gómez will celebrate the Palm Sunday mass in English at 10 a.m. from the Cathedral of Our Lady of Los Angeles. and at 7 a.m. in Spanish. This is the link to see the mass: facebook.com/lacatholics
“Many of our brothers and sisters are currently suffering from the coronavirus; people are sick and dying; many families suffer with the loss and separation of their loved ones, ”said the archbishop.
“We need to show solidarity with our brothers and sisters in their sufferings. We are going to offer our sorrows these days for the coronavirus to end in the world. Where there is love, there is God. So as we continue on the path of passion, death and resurrection, we pray for the grace of love for one another, as Jesus loves us. "
A message of hope
Days after the masses were suspended, Ernesto Vega, who is the coordinator of the Hispanic ministry of faith formation for adults of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, decided to do a Facebook Live every day starting at 6:30 a.m. late to convey a message of faith and pray the rosary.
"I started on Saint Joseph's Day, March 19, with a novena for the healing of humanityBut when the churches began to close, they asked me to continue. Many people feel lonely and disoriented, and they thanked me for helping them, "she says.
To the prayers, Ernesto added practical advice, based on theology and psychology, to manage stress and depression.
“We are all Church, we can continue united praying from home. We must be responsible Catholics and collaborate with preventive measures to save more lives, "he says.
But he advises taking advantage of this quarantine to make changes, how to forgive ourselves, change our diet, exercise, listen, and dialogue with husband or wife and children..
Although Ernesto started the dialogue on Facebook only for his followers, more than 8,000 people have gradually been added to his broadcast.
"People have given a good response, because they feel the need to nourish themselves by not going to church physically, and in the face of the health crisis that the coronavirus represents," he says.
Through his broadcasts, Ernesto has realized that the level of anxiety caused by the epidemic depends on the configuration of each family.
"There are people who have to take care of their adult parents, and when they come back from buying groceries, they are afraid of contaminating them."
In general, external that it has been able to capture during its transmissions that feelings of confusion, sadness, despair, anger, but also of hope.
“There are people who have left prayer, and have returned to pray because they need support; Others realize that the Church goes beyond them and is within us.
He says his purpose is to send a message of optimism, and to face this challenge responsibly.
Ernesto has perceived an increase in faith even by people who were retired from the Church.
“There are even teenagers who have written to tell me that they are watching my broadcasts. I say to myself, but how, if faith has never interested or mattered to you. Others who are returning tell me that they are understanding many things. This pandemic has made us go inside and talk to God. "
If you want to listen to Ernesto Vega, visit his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/5.ernesto.vega/
United in prayer
Inspired by Ernesto Vega and concerned about the health contingency, Braulio Flores, a gardener from Oxnard, in Ventura County, began to pray the rosary on Friday, March 20, through his Facebook page. “We have already completed 15 days broadcasting live, every day, starting at seven in the afternoon. We are already like 1,500 who gather to pray, and we have had very positive opinions ", He says.
He is happy because there are people who began to pray the rosary with very low self-esteem, but he has noticed how their mood has been strengthened. "I myself have gained a lot of strength."
Braulio begins to transmit the rosary next to an altar that he has in his house. "I have never done any live, and I was surprised by the great support we have received, and seeing so many people who have joined in prayer"