The University of Miami’s Christian ministries are preparing a series of COVID-19-adapted Good Friday and Easter services for the campus community. Events include spiritual and secular celebrations, from the Stations of the Cross on the UC Patio on Good Friday to several Easter Sunday services and an Easter Egg hunt at the Wesley United Methodist Center.
“The three days from Thursday night to Sunday night are the climax of the Christian year,” said the Rev. Frank Corbishley, chaplain at St. Bede Episcopal Chapel. “I find it incredible that we have to do most of this virtually for the second year in a row. On the other hand, I am extremely grateful for the technology that allows us to do what we have been doing.”
Corbishley will officiate a virtual Good Friday liturgy at noon to remember Jesus’ trial and execution as well as a Saturday night service, The Great Vigil of Easter, which will happen outside the church at 8:30 p.m.
“The Great Vigil of Easter is the most ancient way to celebrate Easter,” Corbishley said. “This service begins in darkness, a fire is lit, the Paschal candle is lit, then we have a series of nine readings to try to summarize our faith tradition.”
A virtual Easter Sunday service begins at 10 a.m. and an outdoor College Student Service will start at 6 p.m. April 4 in the chapel courtyard.
“Covid has made us be very creative because we’ve had to move activities outside,” said Father Phillip Tran, UM’s first full-time Catholic priest. “We’ve even modified the Stations of the Cross in order for it to comply with COVID regulations. However, all of our events are absolutely brimming with students, and we’re doing extremely well even in this time period,” said Tran, who also chairs the campus Chaplains Association.
On Good Friday, students will host the Stations of the Cross at noon in English and at 1 p.m. in Spanish on the UC patio. On Easter Sunday, students may attend multiple services at St. Augustine Church throughout the day.
“What I’m looking forward to most are the beautiful ceremonies and seeing people entering the church and finishing their journey with us as full Catholics,” Tran said, “and, of course, the fun partying that will happen after our 8 p.m. Mass at St. Augustine’s on Easter Sunday.”
The University’s Christian Fellowship, led by Pastor Joe Lortie, is having a virtual service at 10 a.m. and an in-person service at 5:30 p.m. at the UC Canopy.
The Wesley Methodist Center is planning in-person services on Good Friday at 7 p.m. and Easter at 5 p.m. as well as a communal fast with online prayer time Friday, said Pastor Jess Williams, who coordinated the events.
Williams said he thinks that the pandemic has been difficult on religious life but has given opportunities of creativity that showcase the importance of joy and safety of all people. He is most looking forward to celebrating the hope and joy of life in the midst of what feels like death and the gift of people’s presence both remotely and in person.
“These events will be socially distant and entirely outdoors,” Williams said. “The services also will not include traditional Communion but will instead have to-go dinners with printed prayers/communion liturgies. We also are having an outdoor Easter Egg hunt Sunday before service to add some safe joy for students this season.”