Easter Mass was celebrated around the world on Sunday. And for many U.S. Christians, this weekend marked the first time since 2019 that they gathered in person on Easter Sunday -- a welcome chance to celebrate one of the year’s holiest days side by side with fellow congregants.
And at one Massachusetts church, it was an extra special occasion. On a windy morning in Waltham, it was not only a celebration of Easter Sunday, but also a lesson in resilience.
Hundreds of families attended their 100th consecutive outdoor Mass at Our Lady Comforter of the Afflicted Parish since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
When the pandemic started, Pastor James DiPerri and parishioners moved Mass outside… and haven’t missed a single week.
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"The church during the pandemic served for us like an oasis," another parishioner shared.
"Two winters two summers two springs and two falls," DiPerri said.
The parish has kept track and on Easter Sunday, parishioners celebrated the their 100th consecutive outdoor Mass.
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Parishioners say the timing is certainly no coincidence.
"It is a special day," one woman said. "It’s a miracle."
"Rain, shine, snow... We've made it," another parishioner added. "It really is [a miracle]. I don’t want to get emotional."
As people packed up their lawn chairs for the 100th time Sunday, some were heading to an Easter gathering for the first time in about three years.
"The last couple of years its just been in your own house, do your own thing," one man shared. "We’re going to gather at our daughter’s home in Wayland. It’s going to be a good day."
It's a difficult reminder of where we’ve been, but a beautiful celebration of how far we’ve come.
Our Lady's of Waltham plans to continue its outdoor Sunday masses through the fall, then finally go back inside this winter.