The coronavirus pandemic has impacted faith communities in major ways, including how loved ones are laid to rest in Massachusetts.
On Saturday, Governor Charlie Baker addressed that impact, saying, “I can’t imagine church and someone's funeral being any more special than in moments like this.”
Funerals for the deceased are being held without Mass due to restrictions on gatherings and the importance of social distancing.
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"All of this comes together in a bad way when funerals cannot be held in the way that people want, need, and expect them to happen,” said M.C. Sullivan, the chief healthcare ethicist for the Archdiocese of Boston.
Like much of the disruption we've seen brought on by the pandemic, alternatives have become the norm.
"What we have recommended that people do is go have graveside burial services. At least that part of it is both familiar and comforting,” Sullivan said.
There is comfort found in tough times by leaning on one's faith. The simple act of walking into the House of the Lord, though, is temporarily unavailable.
How has the inability to not go to church impacted so many churchgoers?
“Its a tremendous hole in our lives. It is a tremendous hole," Sullivan said. "It’s a source of great sorrow and pain.”
To ease that pain, giving praise is an increasingly popular option accessed from home.
Starting Monday, people can participate with Cardinal Sean O'Malley for a Lenten retreat for five nights by logging onto BostonCatholic.org