Easter Sunday attracts worshipers back to Houston churches a year into the COVID-19 pandemic

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- While the pews are far from capacity this year, Easter Sunday 2021 appeared to be a sign of a slow return to normal for worshipers at Houston-area churches.

"It's so nice to see people. We missed coming to mass," said one attendee at the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Houston. "Being there during the Mass and hearing the readings, hearing the homily. Being around friends. It's hard not to be around friends."

RELATED: Houston-area churches offer in-person worship for Easter Sunday

Last year, as the United States had shuttered businesses, schools and places of worship due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Easter Sunday services were interrupted and replaced with video that attendees watched from home. Today, as ABC13 talked to those that arrived for Mass, everyone said they were grateful for this year's experience.

The Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart was like countless churches that made accommodations for social distancing.

At First Methodist Houston, masks were required and pews were roped off, allowing attendees to occupy alternate rows, a positive change from last year.

"It was incredibly disappointing not to be able to worship together and see people but we adapted. We went entirely online, and it was very powerful," said First Methodist senior pastor Andy Nixon.

Nixon says they're now a hybrid, offering services in-person and virtually.

While things are coming back around, one thing the church has made some changes to is singing, simply to avoid any spread.

"First of all, we require masks. All of our singers wear masks and we've reduced the music in the service just because we want everybody to be safe," said Nixon.

While last Easter and this Easter may be different, things are opening up. There's new life and that's what Nixon says Easter is all about.

"Life was subdued as we know, but all of a sudden it's coming back," said Nixon. "God's in the bringing-back-business, that's what we know at Easter."

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Many churches were forced to close their doors last year at the start of the pandemic, but now faith leaders are excited to reopen some worship centers.



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