Religious rituals suffer under COVID – but Canadians’ faith is still strong

By Shachi Kurl, President

April 2, 2021 – Spring is prime time for followers of Canada’s religious traditions. And for a second consecutive year, it is a period that carries the weight of isolation and observance by half-measure. For many Jews, Pesach meant Seder dinner by zoom. Catholics are once again foregoing the Way of the Cross and Easter mass in person. As Ramadan begins this month, Muslims will face eating suhoor and iftar at home without visitors, instead of at their local mosque. And Hindus did not have the opportunity to gather, pray and play colour for Holi in March.

What have 13 months of absence from their houses of worship done to Canadians of faith? The Angus Reid Institute asked those who said they identify with a religion, and also who attended religious services at least once a month prior to the pandemic. Their answers are as varied as the spiritual paths they are travelling.

On one hand, isolation has not necessarily meant a loss of devotion. Most are praying more, not less, than they did before the pandemic began. And a whopping 77 per cent have found some salvation by following services online. Among this group, most said it was a good alternative to in-person worship and want it to continue post-pandemic.

For the rest of this piece, please view it on the Ottawa Citizen’s site where it was initially published.


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