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To say that this will be an Easter celebration with a difference is putting it mildly. All the great cities of the world – Paris, New York, Madrid, Berlin, are at a standstill, and the Easter egg hunts and kite-flying (Devil’s Bridge), and picnics (big Easter Monday picnics at all our beaches), will not be staged this year. Good Friday and Easter Sunday services, a time when many churches are packed with worshippers will see an unprecedented change, thanks to Covid-19. All churches here in Antigua and Barbuda will be having services by way of Skype, Zoom and other online portals. In Rome, the Eternal City, Pope Francis will be celebrating the Christian calendar’s holiest week, virtually.

Even in nature, this year, some are saying that we are not seeing as many Easter lilies and the profusion of flowers that normally break forth from the earth, as did our Lord on that first Easter morning. It is as if Mother Nature is sharing in this sad upheaval in our lives.

Alas, some may not be able to partake of that grand Good Friday staple of ducuna and saltfish with family and friends. Neither will the ladies be able to parade in their fancy Easter bonnets and hats, and gay and colourful Easter dresses. Alas, no big Easter fairs and fetes this year.

But all is not lost! This Easter could be a time for sober reflection and introspection, “far from the madding crowd” (title of classic novel by Thomas Hardy). Think sweet solitude. Think being at one with oneself and the Almighty. You see, sometimes, the tumult and the noise can get in the way of that “blessed quietness; that holy quietness; that assurance in one’s soul.” (opening lines of chorus of a great hymn by Manie Ferguson). This could also be a wondrous time to catch up with family members and friends by way of all manner of electronic communication. A good book. Some backyard gardening.  A long-delayed project. A hobby. Seems, there will be more than enough to occupy our time and enrich our lives this Easter weekend.

And then there are our pets and those lovely flowers in our gardens. Psychiatrists have said that in this period of separation from the outside world, there is absolutely nothing wrong with talking to our pets. We’re talking about Rover and Marley, and our rose bush and hibiscus plant. They have however recommended that we pay our doctors a visit if Rover and Marley, and Miss Rose and Miss Hyie, begin answering and conversing with us. (Smile) Of course, we are being facetious, but you get the point – there is a great deal of happiness to be derived from those simple things in life.

Moreover, notwithstanding the dreadful scourge which is stalking our land, bringing disease and death, we can find joy and comfort in the knowledge that, even though His SACRED HEAD WAS WOUNDED, UP FROM THE GRAVE HE AROSE. Folks, “Our redeemer liveth” and “Because He lives, we can face tomorrow.” We can LIFT HIGH THE CROSS, that “Cross where the burdens of our hearts were rolled away.” HE LIVES, folks; “He lives within our hearts!” This Easter, we can truly say, “O death, where is thy sting; O grave, where is thy victory!”

  True, we mourn the passing of our loved ones, here and abroad; those who succumbed to this curse upon the world. But we will derive some measure of comfort in knowing that they are in a far better place. Still, there is an aching void that will be difficult to fill. When our loved ones died, a piece of us died with them. We certainly extend our deepest condolences to the bereaved families. We are also praying that the Angel of Mercy will walk the halls of our Mount St. John’s Medical Centre, and the hospitals abroad, bestowing upon the stricken, that precious breath of life.

We here at NEWSCO take this opportunity to wish all Antiguans and Barbudans a most blessed Easter. May the joy and hope of this season spring eternal in our breasts! Be safe, brothers and sisters!

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