Panaji: For the first time, the Good Friday and Easter celebrations in Goa would be held without the participation of parishioners in the church prayers in view of the coronavirus crisis.
Since the deadly viral disease outbreak, the Goa Church has stopped conducting its masses, and prayers held in churches are streamed online to parishioners through social media platforms like Facebook.
“This year, for the first time in the history of Christianity, the celebration of Good Friday and Easter will be held without parishioners physically attending the church services,” Father Maverick Fernandes, director Caritas Goa, a social wing of the Goa Church, told PTI.
He said the events will continue as per schedule, but without the participation of people.
“Priests will hold prayers in their churches which would be live streamed through social media. However, not holding masses with parishioners will not affect the spirit of the celebration,” he stated.
Good Friday, observed to commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, falls on April 10 this year, while Easter, celebrated as resurrection of the Lord, is on April 12.
Goa has about 30 per cent Christian population.
Meanwhile, some people in the state have demanded that liquor shops be opened for some hours in the run-up to the Easter celebrations.
Social activist Aires Rodrigues, in a letter to state chief secretary last week, said “along with Catholics across the world, Goa will also be observing Easter on Sunday, April 12, which is a feast commemorating the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.”
Easter is a day when families get together to have a sumptuous lunch/dinner, which for most would be incomplete without the choice of wines and alcoholic beverages, he said.
In view of the current lockdown in the state, the government, as a special case, may consider allowing the liquor stores to remain open on April 11, possibly from 10 am to 1 pm and 3 pm to 6 pm, so that in preparation for the festivities, people can purchase their choice of alcoholic beverages, Rodrigues said in the letter.
The state government has not responded to the demand.
The All Goa Liquor Traders Association has said none of its members will open shops during the lockdown period.
The association president, Dattaprasad Naik, said they earlier approached Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, and asked that the government keep the liquor shops closed during the Janata Curfew (imposed last month) and the lockdown.
“People from all sections come to buy liquor. We cannot differentiate between them. That is why we decided not to open the shops,” he said.
Naik said the state government should not reopen the liquor shops till the coronavirus crisis is controlled.