Florida church fills the pews on Easter weekend — with photos of members staying at home

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Pews at Good Shepherd Catholic Church appear to be full Easter weekend

Members of the congregation emailed photos to the staff who then printed each image and taped them to the back of the seat. 

As of Saturday morning roughly 700 members of the church were represented in photographs. 

Some were family photos with parents and their children, others were portraits of individuals. 

With the coronavirus pandemic continuing to rage on during this Holy Week, the priests wanted a way to have people feel as if they are present during each of the three Easter homilies. 

“An empty church is no fun,” said Father Michael Foley. “Social distancing is necessary but you’ll appreciate the people who come every week.”

States are restricting Easter gatherings. Some churches and lawmakers are pushing back.

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On a normal Easter weekend, there would be close to 2,000 attendees over the course of the three services. 

“They hunger to be spiritually present as Easter is celebrated,” Father “Raj” Arockiaraj Kunipaku Selvaraj said. 

Good Shepherd has also implemented drive thru confessionals. 

Members of the congregation at Good Shepherd Catholic Church, located on Thomasville Road, sent in photos of their families so they could be spiritually present during the three homilies during Easter weekend, Saturday, April 11, 2020.

Confessions take place Monday – Friday from 5 – 6 p.m. and Monday – Saturday from 10 – 11 a.m. The priests position themselves six feet away from the curb as drivers pull up to confess their sins.

Like other churches throughout the nation, faith leaders continue to find new ways to connect with their congregation during a time of social distancing.

Good Shepherd had not performed a livestream service until the order for groups no larger than ten was announced. 

This was uncharted territory for the staff but alongside the three priests, they all felt it was important to continue a time of fellowship and worship. 

“The words ‘you are missed’ can’t describe how our priests actually feel when they look out into the church and do not see your faces,” the church wrote on Facebook.

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