How to Watch Easter Sunday Services Online

Despite Easter being a Holy Day of Obligation for Catholics, most churches around the world will be empty this Easter Sunday due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But many churches are finding ways for Christians to still celebrate the holiday by streaming church services online.

One of the blessings of people being resigned to their homes for Easter services is the plethora of live-stream options to choose from. People are able to watch masses at churches they wouldn't imagine attending for a service, for instance. Maybe it's a church in a hometown they've moved away from, a local cathedral where it would normally be too crowded to get a seat on a holiday or, hey, it could even be the Vatican itself.

The Holy See will stream an Easter mass from St. Peter's Basilica, albeit without a congregation. People can view the Vatican's live stream at 11 a.m. CEST and the papal address (Urbi Et Orbi) at 12 p.m. via the Vatican's YouTube channel.

In a recent video message, Pope Francis noted that this year, Catholics will celebrate the holy day in "an unusual way" in a papal address, but that masses will provide a message of hope for Christians worldwide. "And in the silence of our cities, the Easter Gospel will resound," Francis said. "This Paschal faith nourishes our hope. I would like to share it with you this evening. It is the hope of a better time, in which we can be better, finally freed from evil and from this pandemic. It is a hope: Hope does not disappoint; it is not an illusion, it is a hope."

Saint Patrick's Cathedral in New York streams its daily masses on its YouTube channel and posts a link to access a PDF of the worship booklet with prayers, hymns and readings to give the full effect of the mass. St. Pat's also offers an archive of past Masses that were streamed, including one from Easter 2019, which you can watch to simulate attending a service in the Cathedral on an Easter Sunday without a pandemic. St. Patrick's will stream its Easter 2020 Mass beginning at 10:15 a.m. EST on YouTube. It can also be viewed on cable TV via the Catholic Faith Network and listened to on SiriusXM channel 129, the Catholic Channel. The video will also be added to the St. Patrick's archives to be viewed at your own convenience.

Many local churches are offering masses online via various streaming and meeting services, and if you're looking to virtually attend a mass for a local parish, you should check to make sure your church is holding masses online. For example, my local parish, St. Theresa's, is offering masses through Zoom and gives the congregation information about how to attend the mass online via its website.

vatican mass
A general view shows Pope Francis (Rear L) celebrate the "In Coena Domini" Mass of the Lord's Supper of Maundy Thursday, commemorating the Last Supper of Jesus with his disciples and inaugurating the Easter triduum, on April 9, 2020 behind closed doors at St. Peter's basilica in the Vatican, during the lockdown aimed at curbing the spread of the COVID-19 infection, caused by the novel coronavirus. ALESSANDRO DI MEO/POOL/AFP/Getty