A Spanish priest has carried out mass with photos of his congregation members on the empty church pews while they isolate indoors during the COVID-19 lockdown.
The priest, only identified as Ruben, carried out the unusual service at the San Cristobal (Saint Christopher) Church in the district of Adurza in Vitoria-Gasteiz in the northern Spanish region of Basque Country.
The incident took place on 5th April on Palm Sunday, a Christian celebration that falls on the Sunday before Easter.
Images shared on Twitter by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Vitoria show photo frames filling the church pews as the priest stands at the altar and appears to address his absent flock.
Ruben said that the lockdown caused by the spread of COVID-19 is an expression of Jesus’ desire “to be united” as displayed by the widespread concern for others during the pandemic.
As all religious events and gatherings have been suspended during the strict lockdown measures imposed by the Spanish government, which was recently extended until at least the 25th April, Ruben said that he still wanted to involve his congregation in Palm Sunday mass.
As a result, the priest came up with the idea of using their photos on the pews as he “misses” his flock.
According to local media, the Diocese of Vitoria has scheduled a series of online masses and music performances from previous years on their Facebook and YouTube channels so devotees can still honour Holy Week during confinement.
According to the latest figures from the Johns Hopkins University Spain has registered 135,032 cases of COVID-19, 13,055 related deaths and 40,437 recoveries.