In Covington, Louisiana, the faithful will be praying from their bicycles on Friday as they cycle to landmarks that represent the Stations of the Cross.
Sue Zaunbrecher, a parishioner at St. Peter Catholic Church, came up with the idea to be together – but at least 6 feet apart – for prayer and reflection. She arranged the bike route, and 14 families in the community will be displaying a prayer station in their front yards.
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In past years, Zaunbrecher has done the Novena of Nine Churches, a Good Friday tradition in which participants walk in a processional from church to church — a pilgrimage for Catholics in the New Orleans area.
"We can't do that this year,” she says. “It just popped in my head: ‘Well, let's make our own stations.'"
Religious communities around the world are adapting this year because of COVID-19. This week marks the holiest time of the year for Jews who celebrate Passover and Christians who celebrate Easter. The coronavirus pandemic has put a damper on the traditional Seder gatherings, egg hunts and Easter bonnets. It may not be much of a year for families to be dressed up in their Sunday best for holiday pictures. But it will be memorable.
Patron saint of pandemics
Zaunbrecher's thank-you notes to hosts are bound to be keepers. She is giving them holy cards of St. Corona (yes, there really is one), who some believers say is the patron saint of protection against plague.
Zaunbrecher's walkable, bikeable, drive-by, prayer-amid-a-pandemic idea has already spread to neighboring communities, where people are doing similar walks and biking in prayer.
"People want to be together,” she says. “They want to have community. I think it's beautiful."