WORMS – One of the limitations of the global corona pandemic is an explicit ban on public worship. “There has never been anything like this,” says Propst at Dom Tobias Schafer, “since the Christianization of our region under the Romans and later under the Franconians: that no public services should be celebrated at Easter, the central festival of Christianity. And worldwide! But that’s not why Easter is cancelled, emphasizes Schafer.
On the contrary: Easter would be celebrated even more. Because Easter essentially means the victory of life. “In his resurrection, Christ defeats death and everything that bears the traces of death. Easter is the feast of hope, a hope that is stronger – even than death, ”explains Schafer. The provost firmly believes that hope, given the fears and restrictions of the pandemic, can support and give strength to people who are often unsettled. That is why Easter is so important right now: “The cross and resurrection are God’s answer to all suffering in the world!”
Provost Schafer believes that you can also pray at home, read the Bible and celebrate worship. “In the early days of Christianity, Christians gathered as a family in their homes, prayed, sang, and worshipped together,” he explains. Prayer and the encounter with God also work outside of the cathedral and church. As important as it is to meet and strengthen one another as a community, and as central to the Christian community and the common Sunday worship service is: “Every family can and can celebrate worship at home. And if need be, everyone can do it alone. ”
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the churches have invited all Christians to join in prayer in the evening. In Worms, the bells ring every evening at 6.30 p.m. and invite you to pray – everyone for themselves and yet everyone together. The whole congregation is also invited to gather together for prayer on Sundays, and right now in the days of Easter and Holy Week.
Various suggestions and models have been developed for prayer times and church services at home, especially for families with children, which can be downloaded from the home page of the cathedral parish (www.wormser-dom.de), but also in print form in the churches to take away available for everyone who is not so internet savvy. Because, the provost attaches great importance to this: the churches are and remain open during the day for personal and private prayer.
EASTER IN THE DOM
The cathedral community opened Holy Week with the Palm Sunday service, which was also published online. The blessed box branches, which symbolize the palm trees with which people once celebrated the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, are available in a large basket in the cathedral and in St. Martin’s Church: here the parishioners can get a consecrated green branch for their houses. Traditionally, the crosses are decorated with it. “The green branch is a sign of life, of hope. The blessed palm branches are a piece of hope to take away, ”explains Propst at Dom Tobias Schafer. The Church commemorates the Last Supper on Maundy Thursday evening. This service will also be recorded and posted on the Internet. For Good Friday and the Easter night service, the most important service of the whole church year, they finally got professional help. “We are very grateful that the team of the Open Canal Worms offered us support here.” At the moment, the technical possibilities are still being examined. If possible, the Good Friday service with the traditional veneration of the cross on Friday at 3 p.m. and the Easter night service, which begins at 5:30 a.m. on Easter morning, will be shown live in the Open Channel (RheinLokal Worms), so that you can celebrate at home.
Since the beginning of the restrictions, the cathedral parish has recorded the Sunday service in the cathedral and posted it on the Internet via YouTube. “Of course we know that there are also professional television services and we cannot and do not want to compete with them. But we want to make this offer for those for whom connection with their church and church is important right now. ”
Another idea is to let the whole community participate, at least symbolically. The Cathedral and Martins parish had asked their parishioners to send photos of themselves and the family, which were then printed out and attached to the benches in the cathedral. So the church is always pictorial and symbolic when worship is celebrated these days. In addition, everyone has the opportunity to send intercessions and prayer requests via the Internet, which are then put to prayer in services.
Even at Easter, people want to give something from the service: As every year, Easter eggs and candles are blessed at the Easter night service. From Easter Sunday they will be ready to take away in the cathedral and in the St. Martin’s Church, Schafer announces. You could also take the light of the Easter candle, which is traditionally lit by the Easter fire, home with you – Easter to go, so to speak. “This Easter is going to be very different from all Easter I’ve seen so far. But I am absolutely certain that Easter hope and joy will ultimately – and perhaps especially – breakthrough in this special situation, ”the provost is certain.