Easter celebrated in smaller gatherings across Chicago area amid COVID pandemic

CHICAGO (WLS) -- This Easter is the second we're marking during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Early Sunday morning, the annual Rising of the Cross took place in Daley Plaza as the sun came up.

And across the city and suburbs, there were more celebrations. But it looks much different this year, as people are now able to have smaller celebrations instead of the mostly virtual ones we saw last year.

WATCH ON DEMAND: Easter Mass at Holy Name Cathedral

On this day of new beginnings, Resurrection Sunday was also the day many of the people gathered here met for the very first time. It was also the first time since the start of the pandemic members of Chicago's New Creation Church have been back for in-person services.

"It's such a different feeling," worshipper Natalie Warren said. "I've been worshiping with New Creation Church from my living room all year and watching these videos and thinking of people in my church as little boxes on Zoom."

"It's just amazing actually to be back in person and it's like we're getting back to normal after this long year," worshipper Kevin Wilson said. "I really enjoyed it."

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The beautiful weather also allowed outdoor services like the one at the Des Plaines Shrine of the Lady of Guadalupe to go off without a hitch. People gathered there as well, albeit in limited numbers to celebrate Easter Sunday.

With services still capped at 20%, most churches still chose to offer live streams to worshippers. Cardinal Blase Cupich pre-recorded mass to an empty cathedral. While a limited number of people were able to register for one of three services at Holy Name, spots filled up rather quickly.

"I'm really excited to get back into mass," parishioner Meghan Cotand said. "I've been watching virtually on the computer and it's definitely not the same."

"I read a report this morning that finding a place in a Catholic Church to celebrate Easter is the toughest ticket in Chicago today," Cardinal Cupich said. "I hope that it is in fact a sign of things to come."
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