CHICAGO (CBS) — Passover, Ramadan, Easter – these three major holidays all either currently under way or on the horizon.
Coronavirus vaccines and loosened restrictions could allow some steps towards normalcy for the spring holidays. But religious leaders told CBS 2’s Tim McNicholas they can’t let their guard down just yet.
On Palm Sunday at St. Columbanus Church, 331 E. 71st St., plenty of parishioners watched virtually. But Father Matt O’Donnell was happy to see people in the pews – and a growing interest as the vaccines roll out.
“I’ve already talked to a few parishioners who are excited – this will be their first Sunday coming back because they want to celebrate Easter,” O’Donnell said.
Vaccinated or not, O’Donnell knows they will have to follow the city’s health guidelines and limit their capacity. And parishioners can still stream mass if they wish – which was the only option last year.
Rabbi Ari Hart of Skokie Valley said he has also seen more people interested in joining socially distanced prayers in the synagogue’s large social hall. It has been a valuable tool during this Passover – and he has even higher hopes for next year.
“Next, we were looking forward to returning to our custom – which is offering a free Passover seder to anyone who needs in person in the synagogue,” Hart said.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community recently reintroduced their Friday prayers, allowing some members to pray together for the first time in more than a year.
“Even that took very special precautions in terms of cleaning; in terms of everybody having a face covering, bringing their own prayer masks, making sure have social distancing within the mosque,” said Iftekhar Ahmad of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.
And with Ramadan coming up they plan to continue those steps.