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Celebrating faith from a safe distance

What Easter on the internet looked like today.

CLEVELAND — Easter 2020 is one that few people are likely to forget, with the day marked by social distancing and video firsts. Many Americans sat across from screens as they prayed for hope.

In Rome, the pope led Mass inside an empty basilica and called on the world to unite. In Washington, President Donald Trump tweeted a video message promising that life would soon return to normal.

“We’re getting rid of the plague,” President Trump said. “It’s a plague on our country like nobody’s ever seen. But we’re winning the battle. We’re winning the war. We’ll be back together in churches right next to each other.”

Around the globe, millions of people went on YouTube to see Italian opera singer Andrea Bocelli stream a live solo concert at the Duomo in Milan. It was both a concert and prayer, with “Amazing Grace” among the songs.

In Northeast Ohio, it was church like few had ever seen: First Baptist in Elyria offered a drive-in service allowing people to stay in their cars, and the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist in Cleveland streamed its Mass.

Though many churches across the country were exempted from stay at home orders, most still followed them. In New York City, Easter Mass was televised.

“We miss you, though we’d rather you be here physically, and I hear you miss us and are eager to get back to your parishes for Sunday mass…that’s good, that’s refreshing,” Cardinal Timothy Dolan said.

In Houston, evangelist Joel Osteen preached in his nearly empty megachurch.

“We will come through this as a city and a nation and not just come through, but we we’ll come out even stronger than before,” he said.

Once again St. Augustine Parish in Tremont prepared 3,000 meals, feeding a different kind of need, while also celebrating faith from a safe distance.

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