ONEIDA, Wis. (NBC 26) – When the pandemic hit in March 2020, many Catholic parishes held services virtually or with enhanced Covid protocols.
“You felt so isolated, so alone,” Nancy Sobieck said. “And we’re all part of the same group. But if you’re not with the group, it’s hard to feel part of the group.”
Sobieck was a member of St. Joseph in Oneida his entire life. She was among nearly 100 people who showed up for the Friday afternoon service.
“I love seeing all of my family members here, my community,” she said. “Even though I may not know their names, I know them because they are here to worship God with us.”
Good Friday is back in northeast Wisconsin. And after two years in the middle of a pandemic, many members of local congregations say they are delighted to be back to normal this Easter weekend.
“Good Friday is the observance of the sacred passion of our Lord and death on the cross,” Fr. Paul Paider said.
It is the first time that he has spent the month of April in Saint Joseph. And there are still some differences from the pre-pandemic experience. His church does not yet serve the communion wine.
“It’s a positive thing that more and more people are coming back every weekend,” Paider said. “I think there’s a hunger for normalcy in people’s lives and we’re able to provide that for them.”
And come Saturday, there will be no mass for lack of priests. There had to be a replacement.
But Father Paider still leads a service in his sister parish.
“I think we’re at a safe point,” he said. “And I think it’s a feeling of just embracing the present and moving forward into the future.”