With prayers and congregations banned at places of worship as a precautionary measure against the spread of Covid-19, Palm Sunday was a homely affair for Christians in the country. Palm Sunday - which commemorates the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem - marks the beginning of a holy week for Christians, which ends with Easter.
Churches in the country livestreamed Mass services for the faithful on YouTube and Instagram on Sunday. St Mary's Catholic Church had a Mass in Arabic at 10.30am, followed by many other throughout the day.
"As instructed by the local authorities and by our parish priest, people remained in their homes and celebrated via live streaming on Youtube and Instagram. On such occasions, Mass services are held all day long. But in online livestreaming, it is relatively less," Father Tanios Geagea
OFM, priest of Arabic and French community, told Khaleej Times.
He added that Mass services were held in Arabic, English and French. Services were also held on Friday. Each service had around 650 live viewers, with 3,500 views after it ended.
"Our celebration this year was different. We never thought St. Mary's church could be empty some day. Usually the church is full of people coming to pray and celebrate altogether. This year, they stayed in their homes, celebrated solo or with their small families, but we were all united as one church in prayers," Father Geagea stressed.
Gratitude to frontline workers
In a letter to the faithful before the holy week, Bishop Paul Hinder OFM Cap, Apostolic Vicar of Southern Arabia, said: "As we prepare to enter into the holy week during a time which is marked by suffering and paralysis of normal life brought about by the Coronavirus pandemic, may it draw all of us together in solidarity with all those throughout the world who are suffering. Let us once again keep in our prayers in a special way those who are on the frontlines: The governments, the healthcare workers and those who work in their critical life supporting systems."