Holy Week in Homer finds pews empty

Apr 9, 2020

Credit St. John the Baptist

It’s Holy Week for Homer’s Christians, a time when even casual church-goers traditionally make a point to attend Easter Services. But of course this year, churches are closed and gatherings are banned by state order.
    Father Jaime Mencias is the administrator at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Homer.
    “It's very sad. For my experiences, it's very sad. Before this pandemic we are discouraged to celebrate private mass,” Mencias said. “But now for the sake of the people we are encouraged to celebrate private mass. Offer it for all the people.”
    Father Jaime said he’s reminded his parishioners that worshiping at home is not new for Christians.
    “Let us remember our early Christian brothers who were doing their gathering, their breaking of bread, in their homes and in their catacombs because they could not gather in public places,” he said.
    And as important as the resurrection on Easter Sunday is, Father Jaime points out the dark days that led up to it, in drawing a comparison to today’s situation.
    “Let us offer this seemingly dark situation of our life and offer it with the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross. That at the time, it's also a dark experience of his life. And with our hope and faith in God, we can also overcome and find a meaning of the sacrifice that we do for each other,” he said. “And then we can experience also a real resurrection and celebration of Easter, after the situation, and we can see the light with the grace of God.”
    Father Jaime said he has been calling his parishioners since the hunker down mandate to hear their concerns and thoughts.
     “They are praying that this virus will be stopped soon, that people who are searching for it may find the vaccine or the medicine, the drug that will kill this virus. And then but what I am impressed with is they are thinking of other parishioners. They were offering, 'Father, if anyone needs anything, something that they cannot do because they cannot get out from their homes, just tell us, just call us and we will do something for them.' They are not thinking only of themselves, they are thinking of others.”
    On the St. John the Baptist website are links to services and other resources for Easter and Mass. Other faith leaders around town have also taken to the internet to minister to their respective flocks. Check with your favorite church for more information.