US overtakes Italy as country with highest number of coronavirus deaths

This Easter Sunday, the Rev. Tim Kesicki, the head of the Jesuit order in North America, will officiate a Mass around his family’s dining room table.

The service will include just Kesicki, his sister and parents at their home in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. But it won’t necessarily be a quiet Mass.

“During the homily, it is not uncommon for my mom to offer comments,” Kesicki said, laughing. “It’s very welcome, of course.”

Kesicki, who lives in Washington, DC, has celebrated Mass with his family before, a perk of being an ordained Catholic priest.

 The Very Rev. Dean Randy Hollerith holds Sunday Mass as it is live-webcast to its parishioners due to coronavirus at an empty Washington National Cathedral on March 22, in Washington, DC. 
 The Very Rev. Dean Randy Hollerith holds Sunday Mass as it is live-webcast to its parishioners due to coronavirus at an empty Washington National Cathedral on March 22, in Washington, DC.   Patrick Smith/Getty Images

But for many Christians, Easter this year will be dramatically different: a home-bound, shelter-in-place holy day. No Easter parades, no egg hunts at church, no church at all. As there’s been all Lent, there’s a solemness in the air. It doesn’t escape many Christians that they’re celebrating Jesus’ resurrection at a time of rampant sickness and death.

More than 1.7 million people around the world have been infected by the novel coronavirus, and over 100,000 have died, according Johns Hopkins University. The collateral damage can seem nearly as stunning. More than 16 million Americans were out of jobs in just the last three weeks.

A police officer wearing a protective mask stands guard at the Vatican's Saint Peter's Square and its main basilica on March 11, a day after they were closed to tourists as part of a broader clampdown aimed at curbing coronavirus.
A police officer wearing a protective mask stands guard at the Vatican’s Saint Peter’s Square and its main basilica on March 11, a day after they were closed to tourists as part of a broader clampdown aimed at curbing coronavirus. ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP via Getty Images

The pandemic has emptied St. Peter’s Square of pilgrims, silenced the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and shuttered the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, the site of the first Easter two millennia ago.

Sanctuaries across the world, normally filled with Easter lilies and families wearing spring pastels and holiday hats, sit vacant this Sunday.

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