Jordanian Christians took to churches to attend Easter Mass this Sunday, the second Easter celebrated under the restrictions of the ongoing pandemic.
Despite the social distancing measures required, worshippers still expressed gratitude for the ability to celebrate together.
Nour Sawalha, an occupational therapist from Madaba Governorate, expressed her joy at being able to celebrate Easter this year by attending church with her family.
“Such joyful times. I thank God for my country and the closeness of our people,” she said. “I feel that everybody is enjoying the Easter celebrations, especially because this year the churches are open. Though the church is only 10 steps away from my home, it was difficult to celebrate Easter without its special masses, prayers, and family gatherings, as the case was last year. But this year, it’s all about joy and prayers for the pandemic to end and safety to all people.”
Thamer Batarseh, a lawyer from Fuheis, said that the pandemic changed his annual traditions of celebrating Easter with games, gatherings, and dinner.
“In ordinary times, my family along with parents and in-laws would be gathering for the whole day after Easter Sunday mass,” he said. “But unfortunately, due to the limitations COVID-19 brought with it, we are trying to enjoy Easter as much as we can maintaining distancing, fearing for the health of the elders. Nevertheless, it is a blessing the churches are open and we, at least as a family, were able to attend the Easter Masses.”
Archimandrite Basam Shahatit, vicar general of Greek Melkite Catholic Church, told Jordan News that Easter, which, according to Christian tradition “commemorates the resurrection of Jesus from the dead three days after his crucifixion, comes to remind all people of the power of love for each other and all humanity.
“In every holy mass we are reminded of Jesus Christ’s commandment of loving each other,” he said. “In selfless love one finds peace and harmony and is able to cope with the difficult times we are facing nowadays.”
Yousef Hashweh, pastor of the Alliance Church, said that while this Easter and last year’s were engulfed in pain due to COVID-19 and the fear of infection, the event comes every year with rhythms of hope, peace, and joy to all humanity.
“As priests we urge the faithful to keep on holding to hope in these dark days of the pandemic,” and give encouragement to those around them, Hashweh said. “Though times are tough, they will not last.”
According to Daniel Sharaiha, an expert in human capital, Easter holds a message to all people regardless of their faiths and backgrounds, and even for those who claim no particular religion at all. “We only need to trust and have the faith,” he said, adding that Easter brings joy, freedom, and the promise of second chances.
Majda Ayoub, an assistant professor at the American University of Madaba, said that although she was unable to attend the Sunday mass, she still treasures Easter time.
“There is nothing more glorious than to know we are loved to death by our creator,” she said. “I hope in the remembrance of the resurrection, hope will reside in the place of fear and agony which mark the current times.”
The Catholic and Orthodox faiths follow different calendars after a split in the sixteenth century. While Orthodox churches celebrated Easter on Sunday this year, Catholic churches celebrated the holiday earlier in April.