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After two years, WNY gathers on holiday weekend with no restrictions

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Posted at 11:18 PM, Apr 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-15 23:18:17-04

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — People can gather to celebrate spring holidays for the first time in three years.

“It’s just a powerful reminder that we need to be together and now that the restrictions have been lifted, people feel much more comfortable," Father David LiPuma said.

At the OLV Basilica, Father David LiPuma said they had 300 people attending mass at most for Holy Week last year, that went up to about 800 on Good Friday this year.

“It’s a great sign that people have not lost their faith," Father LiPuma said.

Father LiPuma said being able to gather again for this Good Friday is a powerful reminder of what being together can mean.

“Christ gave up his life on the cross for us to be united in prayer together for this celebration of the Passion of the Lord," Father LiPuma said. "It is truly inspiring for all of us because it’s the very core of our faith.”

The same is true for Passover observances.

“We’re celebrating not only our redemption, our liberation from Egypt, but we’re celebrating our own liberation where we feel safe and healthy to celebrate together," Rabbi Laizer Labkovski said.

Rabbi Laizer Labkovski said the past two years were difficult but make this year even more special.

“It’s a really happy event because finally, we feel safe," Rabbi Labkovski said.

He said they are still thinking of people who do not feel safe coming out the celebration.

“We still have some people who don’t feel safe to come out and we gave out 250 packages for them to celebrate at home," Rabbi Labkovski said.

The Center for Jewish Life will have another Seder celebration Saturday at 8 PM.

If you missed Basilica masses today, the Easter Vigil on Saturday is at 8 PM

On Easter Sunday there are masses at 8 AM, 10 AM and 12 PM. If you’re unable to attend, the Basilica will stream all services live on their website.