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Churches Hope Easter Is New Beginning After 2 Years Of COVID Restrictions

WEST ROXBURY (CBS) - Preparations are underway at Holy Name parish in West Roxbury for the start of Easter services.

For pastor Fr. George Evans filling the church feels like a new beginning. "People come with a little more freedom, not as inhibited, they can sing out, respond and be heard," said Fr. Evans.

Two years ago, there was no service, last year limited attendance with COVID restrictions.

At St. Theresa of Avila parish in West Roxbury there are still special rows for social distancing. But pastor Fr. John Connolly is seeing attendance rebound. "People are feeling safer in general, more confident and know how to handle the virus," said Fr. Connolly.

Pastor Bryan Levangie of Next Level church has added services for Sunday, anticipating packed attendance. "It's people, that's what is going to be different," said Pastor Levangie.

For the first time in two years a return of the popular Easter egg hunt that brings families together like he hasn't seen in sometime. "I think we realized the last couple of years the importance of seeing people face to face that we took for granted before COVID," Levangie said. "I think now people are ready to be back in person."

Fr. Evans says his large church could be a desolate place during the pandemic, and as a priest he missed the routine of mass participation. "Those are the things we're used to, the rhythms we know and love," Evans said.

Now these churches hope Easter is a launching point for bringing people back. "I think people are hungry to come back, get together and go back to the familiar," said Fr. Connolly.

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