San Jose church eager for 1st in-person, indoor Easter services since 2019

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- This Sunday, church goers across the Bay Area will celebrate one of their holiest of holidays: Easter.

For many, they will return to in-person service for the first time in more than a year which has parishioners eager and hopeful.

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For Christians, Easter Sunday celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Resurrection: a word that embodies a return to glory.

This weekend in 2021 will hold a special meaning, as it will be the first time many will return to in-person, indoor Easter service since 2019.

"This will be the first time that we have been inside the church since COVID started," Saint Martin of Tours Church Member Suzie Cisneros said. "The ceremony and the passion of Christ at Easter time is the most important thing in the Catholic faith. So it's really emotional."

Cisneros and her family, along with around 150 other members of the Saint Martin of Tours Catholic Church began their Easter weekend with a Good Friday mass.

Santa Clara County is in the orange tier, meaning churches can reopen at 50% capacity versus the 25% cap for red-tier counties, according to state guidelines.

The church has chosen to limit their indoor capacity to 25% of their 600-person limit and has made the required changes to allow for safe distancing.

But, the chance to be together again is still considered a blessing.

"It's a nice feeling to not just be in cars and be segregated, but to be back with the community," Saint Martin of Tours Church Member Jon Dickinson said. "So, we're thrilled."

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If you're not yet comfortable with in-person masses, have no fear.

Churches across the Bay Area, including Saint Martin of Tours, will offer outdoor and virtual services still for Easter Weekend so that people can enjoy their worship safe and comfortable.

Father Saju Joseph believes that only allowing 150 people indoors will lead to a safer environment, something he views as important to himself and others.

"Spirituality should have a head, it should have a heart of love, understanding and emotional piece and it should have hands and feet for action," Saint Martin of Tours Pastor Saju Joseph said. "In this county, not everyone is vaccinated. Taking care of each other's well-being is part of our spirituality. That's what Christ would have done isn't it? All options, keeping in mind the safety and well-being are with great love."

Easter is said to be a time to be thankful.

This weekend, many will be thankful to be together again.

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