Local churches adapt to keep the traditions of Palm Sunday


COVID-19 has cancelled so much, but there was no rescheduling Palm Sunday

(WKBN) – Palm Sunday kicks off the beginning of Holy Week. With churches cancelling in-person masses, they had to get creative to maintain traditions and social distancing requirements.

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COVID-19 has cancelled so much, but there was no rescheduling Palm Sunday.

Many local churches still gave out palms while respecting social distancing by setting up a drive thru.

One of those churches was the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Austintown.

“There’s no church services, but we wanted to give the people something–our parishioners and others–something to get Holy Week started for them,” said Matt Hlebak of the church.

For many in the Valley and across the world, Palm Sunday has become more than just the start of Holy Week this year. It’s a little normalcy in their lives as they try to navigate a time that has become so unusual.

That is why Richard and Gina Woodley decided to volunteer their time on Sunday, handing out palms to their fellow parishioners at St. Mary’s Church in Warren.

“This is the holiest time of the year. There’s a lot of tradition, custom, just a faith that we practice this week that unfortunately we can’t come together and do that,” said Gina.

If the Woodley’s didn’t volunteer, there wouldn’t have been anyone to hand out palms.

“They’re very happy. They’re all saying thank you. You know, they’re very pleased that they were able to come through and do this,” Gina said.

And without those who stopped by, many palms wouldn’t reach the hands of parishioners who couldn’t come to get their palms themselves.

“We’re an elderly parish and I know that people are taking care of the others and getting their palms for them,” Gina said.

St. Mary’s and Immaculate Heart of Mary both had canceled their services Sunday.

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