Parishioners pack pews for Easter mass at Norfolk church as attendance hits normal levels two years after start of pandemic

Posted at 7:14 PM, Apr 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-17 19:27:28-04

NORFOLK, Va. – People from all over the world and in Hampton Roads celebrated Easter Sunday marking the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

At St. Pius X Church in Norfolk, attendance hit pre-pandemic levels as Christians packed the pews and music filled the parish for Easter Sunday mass.

Despite a slight uptick in COVID cases recently, many parishioners are cautiously optimistic that the worst of the pandemic is over.

This Easter, many people are finding hope through faith.

“This Easter has been kind of a rejuvenation for our parish and the church in general,” said Mark Zafra, a St. Pius X parishioner for about 40 years.

The number of people coming to mass in person this year is a stark contrast to last Easter. In April 2021, pandemic restrictions were in place and the COVID-19 vaccine wasn’t widely available, which kept many of the faithful home.

“More are coming back; more are participating,” said Rev. Sean Prince of St. Pius X Church.

Rev. Prince said attendance at St. Pius is up fourfold, going from about 100 people this same time last year to now 400. Additionally, Rev. Prince said a high number of new Catholics are coming to the church.

“It’s very exciting,” he said. “It’s great to see with the pandemic coming to an end, it’s not over, but with restrictions lifting and with more being vaccinated and those things, that people are beginning to come back to sort of a normalcy.”

The Easter message remains the same as Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus with a stronger focus on the sense of community and being together.