Holy Week Celebrations in South Florida Taking Place Via Livestream

Places of worship have had to adapt to a culture of social distancing in Florida, and they're doing so by livestreaming services, offering classes and meditations online and reaching out to audiences on social media

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When Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis exempted houses of worship from his stay-at-home executive order, he cited upcoming Easter celebrations as part of his reason for doing so.

"Coming up in the Easter season, I think people are going to want to have access... There's no reason why you can't do a church service with people 6 feet apart," DeSantis explained.

Nonetheless, as a culture of social distancing and isolation has taken hold of the state, which now has more than 13,300 confirmed cases of coronavirus, most places of worship in South Florida have cancelled in-person ceremonies and events and are instead opting to hold masses or prayer services online via livestreams.

It looks like upcoming Easter Sunday ceremonies will be no different. According to The Miami Herald, Miami Archbishop Thomas Wenski ordered his priests last week "not to conduct any drive-by confessions, no palm pickups in front of church for Palm Sunday and no in-person Masses on Easter Sunday."

On Palm Sunday, which marks the beginning of Holy Week for Christians, Wenski streamed mass from St. Mary Cathedral with no people physically in attendance from the Archdiocese's Facebook page.

The same will be true for Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday. "Holy Week has not been cancelled," the archdiocese wrote on its website.

"Although we won’t be able to gather in person, Holy Week liturgies will be celebrated in all the parishes of the Archdiocese of Miami. Most will be livestreamed or recorded and posted on each church’s website, Facebook or YouTube page — sometimes, all three."

The website offers a comprehensive list of where to find local churches' livestreams, as well as their schedules for Holy Week liturgies.

Mosques and other places of worship across South Florida are also taking advantage of social media and digital platforms to conduct ceremonies and services that have been cancelled in-person.

Temple Judea, Bet Shira Congregation and Temple Emanu-El are all offering livestreams of their Shabbat services every Friday via their websites (linked to their names). Aventura Turnberry Jewish Center is conducting daily prayer services via its website as well.

Calvary Church is offering livestreams of Sunday services at various times, as is Cornerstone United Methodist Church and True Witness Apostolic Church.

The Khadampa Buddha Center has meditation classes available online, and St. Paul Lutheran Church has worship and even bible classes available daily on their site.

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