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Survey looks at how pandemic has changed holy week

COVID's impact on faith

COVID-19 has changed the way Canadians of varying faiths celebrate one of the holiest dates on the calendar.

The pandemic has upended the traditional and long-held community-based celebrations and observances that strengthen them – and their spiritual beliefs.

Catholics will not participate in the Way of the Cross processions this spring. For many elderly Jews, Pesach likely meant being alone, for the Sedar. Muslims face eating suhoor and iftar - the two main daily meals served during Ramadan - at home without visitors, instead of at their local mosque.

With special masses cancelled, and the doors to houses of worship locked, how are Canadians of faith planning to mark these most sacred periods? And how is their faith helping them through these unprecedented and challenging times?

The non-profit Angus Reid Institute, in partnership with Cardus, set out to measure the extent to which all Canadians have been assisted by faith institutions during this time in a public-opinion survey.

The data found Canadians who identify as religious increasingly turning to prayer and scripture for comfort – and to technology for celebration and sermon – as they navigate through these times of self-isolation.

The survey found:

  • One-in-five Canadians say they personally, or someone close to them, have been supported by a faith institution since the coronavirus began spreading in Canadian communities.
  • Among Canadians who pray (59 per cent of the population overall), more than one-in-five say they are turning to prayer more since the COVID-19 pandemic gripped the country
  • For those more steeped in faith – prayer has been an important source of relief and comfort in dealing with feelings of isolation, depression and uncertainty
  • It’s technology to the rescue for many Canadians looking to observe religious services while staying at home: online mass, Zoom prayer sessions and religious apps are among the most popular

For a more in depth look at the survey results, click here.



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