Waterbury religious leaders to hold virtual Easter mass for community on ‘Holy Land’


WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — It’s a landmark in Waterbury — the giant cross that towers over the city on top of a large hill that houses Holy Land USA.

Father James Sullivan, of The Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, had hoped to hold a special Easter morning sunrise service there. The mass will still go on, but because of the coronavirus, large crowds of people will not be allowed there.

Instead, just a few local church leaders will be there for the “Mountaintop Mass.” Because of social distancing guidelines, it’ll be livestreamed for the masses Sunday morning at 6:15 a.m. on the church’s website.

“This Easter, in the life of all of us, is so different than any other one that we’ve experienced in the past,” Father Sullivan said.

And that’s because of the coronavirus. The religious leaders, who represented several different Waterbury churches, shared deeply challenging experiences because of the virus.

“This past Wednesday, I administered the last rites to a dying patient in an ICU via an iPad,” said Father Michael Carrol of St. John’s Episcopal Church. “And it was kind of heartbreaking.”

“We’ve had a number of people from our congregation have the coronavirus,” said Pastor James Lilley, of The House of Power Church. “Fourteen people from our congregation have literally made it through it and have healed.”

The leaders all know the community is hurting, but they wanted to send a positive message to everyone to keep the faith.

“To let people know that we’re thinking of them, praying for them,” Father Sullivan said. “We’re in this together and we have great strength and resolve.”

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