Only priests and staff attended Easter mass at Denver’s Cathedral Basilica

“This is by far the most unique Easter that any of us have ever celebrated during our lifetime.”

Phil Bordeleau, director of sacred music at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, plays the organ during Easter mass. April 12, 2020. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Phil Bordeleau, director of sacred music at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, plays the organ during Easter mass. April 12, 2020. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

KEVIN-lighter

Archbishop Samuel Joseph Aquila passed rows of pews as he proceeded down the aisle to begin Easter mass. It was the first time he’d ever seen the place empty during the holiday.

“It’s very, very strange,” he’d later say. “My heart aches that the people aren’t here and there’s suffering.”

Mass went on as normal, save the crowd. The organ played, songs were sung and prayers echoed through the cavernous space. The only thing absent were responses that should have followed Aquila’s lead during the sermon.

Hung Pham, director of litergy for the Archdiocese of Denver, wears a mask before Easter mass at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. April 12, 2020. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Hung Pham, director of litergy for the Archdiocese of Denver, wears a mask before Easter mass at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. April 12, 2020. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Easter at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. April 12, 2020. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Easter mass begins at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. April 12, 2020. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

It would normally be packed here on Easter Sunday. Instead, as people shelter in place to avoid spreading COVID-19, they watched the rites online.

This is not the first time humanity has been gripped by pandemic, Aquila said, but it is the first time we’ve been able to communicate in so many ways. He was happy tradition could continue.

“This is, by far, the most unique Easter that any of us have ever celebrated during our lifetime,” Aquila said from the pulpit. “I want you to know that I carry you in my heart every day. I keep all of you in my prayers, and especially those who are suffering from the virus and those who are taking care of the medical professionals, the families and all of those involved in the care of the sick.”

Phil Bordeleau, director of sacred music at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, plays the organ during Easter mass. April 12, 2020. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Phil Bordeleau, director of sacred music at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, plays the organ during Easter mass. April 12, 2020. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Archbishop Samuel Joseph Aquila leads Easter mass at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. April 12, 2020. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Archbishop Samuel Joseph Aquila leads Easter mass at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. April 12, 2020. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

But Aquila said there were blessings to be found in this odd time. Parents, he said, have told him they’ve spent more time than ever with their children.

“It’s been an amazing, wonderful discovery for them,” he said. “Hopefully that will carry on even after the pandemic, that people will really see what is important in life. It’s not all the material things we have or our jobs, but it is really the gift of faith and the gift of family.”

As they prayed, he and his colleagues asked God to watch over those serving the sick, those infected and the dead.

Aquila’s voice boomed through the empty church as each was invoked: “Lord, hear our prayer.”

Lisa Butts, head of security at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, is one of the only people in attendance for Easter mass. April 12, 2020. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Lisa Butts, head of security at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, is one of the only people in attendance for Easter mass. April 12, 2020. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Father Ron Cattany prays during Easter mass at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. April 12, 2020. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Father Ron Cattany prays during Easter mass at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. April 12, 2020. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Easter at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. April 12, 2020. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Easter at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. April 12, 2020. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

 

Thanks for reading another Denverite story

Looks like you’re the type of person who reads to the ends of articles! Well, true believer, you might really like our morning newsletter. It’s quick, free and gets you up to speed on the important and delightful things happening right here in Denver. Does Denverite help you feel more connected to what’s up in your area? Do you want to be a part of it?

Member donations are critical to our continued existence and growth.

Weird times

Denverite is powered by you. In these weird times, the local vigilance, the local context, the local flavor — it’s powered through your donations. If you’d miss Denverite if it disappeared tomorrow, donate today.

You’re our superpower

Denverite supporters have made the decision to financially support local journalism that matters to you. Ready to tell your networks why? Sharing our “About” page with your own personal comments could really help us out.

You’re our superpower

Denverite members have made the decision to financially support local journalism that matters to you. Ready to tell your networks why? Sharing our “About” page with your own personal comments could really help us out.