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Streaming Seders and bottled Holy Water: How valley religious groups are celebrating holidays during pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic might be physically keeping people apart, but not socially or spiritually, religious leaders said.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Tomorrow is Palm Sunday and next week we head into Passover, Ramadan, and Easter.  It’s typically a time for families and congregations to come together, but not now. Not with the coronavirus.  

But that's not stopping different groups from keeping their spirits high.

Father Gregory Schlarb with Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Scottdale is still able to go into his church with precautions.

"We take our temperatures every day," he explains.

He's been streaming all their services on Facebook live while his parishioners stay home.  This weekend, he’s asked people to put Palms on their doors for Palm Sunday.  He says they're also bottling up Holy Water to distribute, with gloves, of course.

"As people of faith we journey on," he says.  "We continue on."

Our Lady of Perpetual Help - Scottsdale, Arizona, Scottsdale, AZ. 969 likes · 503 talking about this · 2,344 were here. This is the OFFICIAL Facebook Page of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish, School...

Up the road, Rabbi Jeremy Schneider is making preps of his own.

"A bit unorthodox," he jokes. "No pun intended."

He’s also been streaming services for Temple Kol Ami, and Passover celebrations later this week will be no exception.

"We are going to attempt an online streaming Seder," he says.  "I told the congregation we’ll try it. It’s not going to be perfect. It might not even be complete and we’ll work our way through it. The connecting is the most important part."

In the past, he says they’ve packed nearly 200 people in their sanctuary to celebrate.

And it’s his mission to guide his people through this, a lot of them healthcare workers, fighting this pandemic on the front lines.

He’s drawing faith from his teachings – but also the times.

"When we come out of our homes and out of our isolations, I think we can celebrate in a metaphorical and also literal way that the pandemic has passed over," he said.

Dear Members and Friends, Th Board of Trustees continue to meet to address our ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are working together to navigate these challenging circumstances while keeping everyone in the community in mind. Together, we will overcome-just as our people have done for centuries before.


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