Father Emmanuel Onumadu

Father Emmanuel Onumadu

Drive-in, virtual Easter services go ahead

Members of 100 Mile House’s faith communities celebrate Easter Mass in person, albeit outside.

Members of 100 Mile House’s faith communities are looking forward to celebrating Easter Mass in person, albeit in outside venues only.

Four days after Dr. Bonnie Henry issued a public health variance order on March 25 to allow for indoor worship services on four days between March 28 and May 13, she reversed that decision Monday, following a spike in COVID-19 cases. The temporary variance had required physical distancing, masks, and a limit on attendance to 50 people or 10 per cent of capacity, whichever is less.

Henry said the allowance was always conditional on the state of the pandemic, noting on March 29 there have been 329 new cases of variants confirmed by testing since Friday, part of a total of more than 2,500 cases recorded over the weekend.

“We are hoping that things will improve. I tell people not to give up, I tell people to trust in God,” said Father Emmanuel Onumadu of St. Jude’s Catholic Church. “I choose to count my blessings than look at the negatives.”

Onumadu and the parishioners of St. Jude’s Catholic Church said they intend to make it work. Weather allowing, Onumadu plans to celebrate the Easter Vigil in St. Jude’s parking lot, with Holy Thursday at 7 p.m., Good Friday at 3 p.m., Holy Saturday at 8 p.m. and Easter Sunday at 9:30 a.m.

He will preach from an altar set up outside which will be warmed by plenty of space heaters to keep “the poor priest from freezing to death,” he said.

READ MORE: Hillside Church preparing to offer drive-in service this summer

Parishioners will have the option of either sitting in chairs set up in front of the altar or sit in their cars and listen to Onumadu speak via the radio. The mass will also be broadcast on the church’s YouTube channel for those unable to attend in person. Onumadu doesn’t want any of his parishioners to risk their health and advises if they’re not strong enough, to watch the mass. The Eucharist will be offered following COVID-19 protocols, he added.

Onumadu encourages everyone in 100 Mile House not to give up in the fight against the pandemic. While he understands the frustration, people need to stay strong and not let their sacrifices be for nothing.

“People are so happy to come and be present. This time of the year is the most important time in the life of the Church when we celebrate the sacrifice of Jesus Christ giving up his life for our own salvation. So it’s really important for my parishioners to have the opportunity to be physically present.”

Steve Silvera, a parishioner at St. Judes since 1973, said he the reasoning behind the restrictions on churches, but it doesn’t make sense to him that they have been closed longer than other places. The protocols they had in place for celebrating the mass over the summer were stricter than most restaurants and he felt safe, he added.

“No one is saved on their own, we are saved in a community. We have to be with one another and when Christ calls us to communion he’s calling us to worship together and be for each other,” Silvera said.

Still, he said he’s looking forward to celebrating the Easter Mass in person this weekend, noting it’s deeply important to him.

“A video has spiritual benefit, no question, but it’s not the same.”

Hillside Community Church head pastor Clint Lange said not being able to meet in person has been hard for his church, too. His congregation will also celebrate Easter with a drive-in mass this year. Lange said the church has a low-power FM broadcaster, which they used for drive-in services over the summer, so they decided to do mass using their parking lot as their venue for 25 cars.

Hillside will offer two services on Sunday from 11 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. He’ll preach from the church’s porch while a band plays beside him to give people the full experience. If people wish to attend he advises they call the church at 250-395-4637 and reserve a parking spot.

They’ve been doing their best to keep in contact with each other via social media where he’s released a Sunday service at 10 a.m. each weekend via Facebook and YouTube. Lange added they intend to do more drive-in services this summer and have already rented a stage for when they begin in May.

“We’re really looking forward to when everything calms down here and everything opens up again. It is going to be a celebration. There’s something special about a good number of people lifting up praises to God together. Just something that can’t be reproduced electronically.”


Like us on Twitter.

100 Mile HouseCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


Father Emmanuel Onumadu and parishioners of St. Jude’s Catholic Church are preparing to observe the Easter Vigil outdoors and online. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

Father Emmanuel Onumadu and parishioners of St. Jude’s Catholic Church are preparing to observe the Easter Vigil outdoors and online. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

Just Posted

Brittany McCausland and her son Cody at Our Place Pre-School & Childcare Center. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
100 Mile daycare struggles to attract staff

Attracting and keeping Early Childhood Educators (ECE) getting tougher.

Sarah Smith is a bereavement worker with 100 Mile Hospice. (Kelly Sinoski - 100 Mile Free Press).
‘Grief never goes away’: Hospice seeks to add programs

Growing demand for bereavement services in the South Cariboo region.

An RCMP cruiser flashes its light as it speeds up Highway 97. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Officers suffer minor injuries after a fight with a prohibited driver

The 44-year-old man resisted arrest and shoved an officer to the ground

(Black Press files)
Chief Civilian Director Ronald J. McDonald, QC reviewed the evidence and determined reasonable grounds exist to believe in officer may have committed offenses. (Black Press files)
Crown considering charges against Williams Lake Mountie after high-speed pursuit: police watchdog

IIO says the man, who was arrested, sustained serious but not life-threatening injuries from the incident

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod, seen here on April 9, 2021 with four-year-old sister Elena and mom Vanessa, was born with limb differences. The family, including husband/dad Sean McLeod, is looking for a family puppy that also has a limb difference. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. family looking for puppy with limb difference, just like 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy McLeod born as bilateral amputee, now her family wants to find ‘companion’ puppy for her

A vehicle that was driven through the wall of a parkade at Uptown Shopping Centre and into the nearby Walmart on April 9 was removed through another hole in the wall later that night. (Photo via Saanich Police Department and Ayush Kakkar)
Vehicle launched into B.C. Walmart removed following rescue of trapped workers

Crews cut new hole in parkade wall to remove vehicle safely

Four members with Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans were out at Cultus Lake on March 28 and 29 hauling trash out of the waters. (Henry Wang)
PHOTOS: Out-of-town divers remove 100s of pounds of trash from Cultus Lake

Members of Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans hauled out 470 pounds of trash over two days

As of Saturday, April 10, people born in 1961 are the latest to be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. (Black Press files)
B.C. residents age 60+ can now register to get their COVID-19 vaccine

Vaccine registration is now open to people born in 1961 or earlier

A new saline gargle test, made in B.C., will soon be replacing COVID-19 nasal swab tests for kids. (PHSA screenshot)
Take-home COVID-19 tests available for some B.C. students who fall ill at school

BC Children’s Hospital plans to provide 1,200 kits to Vancouver district schools this April

Ruming Jiang and his dog Chiu Chiu are doing fine following a brush with hypothermia that saw several people work together to get them out of the Fraser River near Langley’s Derby Reach Park on March 25, 2021 (Special to the Advance Times)
Man finds men who rescued him from drowning in B.C.’s Fraser River

A grateful Ruming Jiang says he will thank them again, this time in person when the pandemic ends

Tyson Ginter, 7, is proud of his latest Hot Wheels he recently received by Quesnel RCMP Const. Matt Joyce. (Photo submitted)
B.C. Mountie handing out toy cars to light up children’s faces

‘A lot of times it will be the only interaction they have with the police,’ says Const. Matt Joyce

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a technical briefing on the COVID pandemic in Canada, Friday, January 15, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s ICUs see near-record of COVID-19 patients last week as variant cases double

Last week, Canadian hospitals treated an average of 2,500 patients with COVID-19, daily, up 7% from the previous week

Most Read