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Good Friday, Passover coincide as faith leaders welcome back parishioners in person

Church leadership at the Basilica of St. Mary and Temple Israel say this is an especially holy weekend and a season of healing after two hard years.

MINNEAPOLIS — After two years of being socially isolated, faith leaders say this holy weekend is bringing parishioners and leadership a collective sigh of relief. 

On Good Friday, as people entered the Basilica of Saint Mary in Minneapolis, Director of Liturgy and Sacred Arts, Johan Van Parys, said it was emotional.

"People have experienced this sorrow really over missing friends, family, and church communities," Van Parys said. "When the people walk in, there are deep emotions. They are like, 'Ah, we are back! It’s so wonderful to be back!'"

Two years ago on this holiday, the Basilica was nearly empty, while a core group of church leadership live streamed services, which they still continue to do. 

Even last year, Van Parys said there were limited people.

"This year, we're completely open," he said.

Over at Temple Israel, Rabbi Marcia Zimmerman stepped away from preparing for Passover Seder feast to share her thoughts on the communities of faith coming together this weekend. In particular, during Passover celebration, she said, "We move from slavery to liberation — from degradation to hope."

Zimmerman said that is a theme many can relate to after two difficult years.

"The last two years we have had our Seder around Zoom," Rabbi Zimmerman said. "We didn't miss out on the actual ritual of it; we missed out on the gathering and families coming together, and that is not replaceable."

Zimmerman said she's thankful there is a strong interfaith alliance within the Twin Cities. Whether people are celebrating Ramadan, Easter, or Passover, "We are all talking about redemption. We are all talking about liberation."