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As Holy Week nears, Berkshire churches keeping the faith

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The Rev. Steven Montesanti learned years ago that a shuttered church doesn't shutter one's faith.

He had complained to the late Most Rev. Leo O'Neil, former auxiliary bishop in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield, about the closing of St. John Paul II Parish in Adams.

"Locked doors are no barrier between Jesus and those who love him," he recalled O'Neil saying at the time. "They will not be a barrier to you."

"And they never have," Montesanti said. "They never have."

Montesanti shared the advice to his parishioners in an open letter he wrote before the start of Holy Week, which begins Sunday. The most sacred days on the calendar for Christians mark the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, starting with Palm Sunday and ending next weekend with Easter Sunday.

Traditional Holy Week observances and services have been altered greatly or outright canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Springfield Diocese has banned the drive-by distribution of blessed palms Sunday. Diocesan officials say they have scheduled televised services Holy Thursday and Good Friday for Western Massachusetts viewers; 10 a.m. on WTEN in Albany, N.Y., for the Berkshire faithful. A Sunday service will continue to be broadcast on Sundays at least through Easter.

St. Charles Borremeo Church in Pittsfield hasn't given up in keeping somewhat physically connected. The pastor, the Rev. John Tuohey, had a large cross placed out of the main entrance, draped in purple cloth for Lent, so people can drive by and pray.

"[Our parishioners] are appreciative that they can look at the church and be reminded it's Lent," Tuohey said. "People want that tangible connection."

Following is a list of what individual churches are doing for Holy Week in the Berkshires:

St. Charles Borromeo Church, Pittsfield

Good Friday: 9 a.m. Relic put back in the cross with the Angelus, removed at 7 p.m. Saturday/Easter: Purple drape will be changed to note the Resurrection. Please take a moment to pause during the day before the cross of our resurrected Lord. For more details go to the church Facebook page.

South Congregational Church, Pittsfield

Palm Sunday: 10 a.m. online worship service. Go to church website for link to Zoom.

Easter Sunday: 10 a.m. joint online worship with First Church of Christ, Pittsfield. Visit South Congregational's Facebook page for link.

Berkshire Community Church, Congregational, Richmond

Palm Sunday: 10:30 a.m.; Easter Sunday: 10:30 a.m. Services will be livestreamed on Facebook.

Berkshire First Church of the Nazarene, Dalton

Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday: 9:30 a.m. worship in the parking lot. Remain in your car and tune radio to 92.7 FM.

Christ Trinity Church, Sheffield

Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday: 10 a.m. worship livestreamed at facebook.com/ChristTrinitySheffield.

Church on the Hill, Lenox

Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday worship will be available online by 9 a.m. Sundays at lenoxucc.org/blog. The Rev. Liz Goodman will podcast her preaching for streaming or download.

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First Baptist Church, Pittsfield

Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday: 10 a.m. worship. Tune in to PCTV-1301 on Spectrum Cable for viewing purposes. The service also will be livestreamed on Facebook (First Baptist Church of Pittsfield, MA).

First Baptist Church, Williamstown

Palm Sunday: 10 a.m. worship; Maundy Thursday: 6 p.m. service; Good Friday: 6 p.m. service; Easter Sunday: 6:30 p.m. "Sonrise" service and 10 a.m. worship. Services will be livestreamed; visit fbcwilliamstown.org for details and links.

First Congregational Church, Dalton

Palm Sunday: 9:30 a.m. worship. Maundy Thursday: 6 p.m. service with Holy Communion. Easter Sunday: 9:30 a.m. worship. All services are livestreamed at Facebook.com/FirstCongoDalton or through Zoom.

First Congregational Church, Lee

Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday: Private Sunday morning services will be recorded via Zoom and placed on the church website, ucc-lee.org, and Facebook page (Lee Congregational Church, UCC).

First Congregational Church, Sheffield

Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday: 10 a.m. worship via Zoom. Visit firstuccsheffield.org for information.

First Congregational Church, Stockbridge

Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday: 9:45 a.m. livestreamed. Visit stockbridgeucc.org for information.

Pilgrim Memorial Church, Pittsfield

Palm Sunday: 10 a.m. Palms can be picked up from 9:30-9:45 a.m. Maundy Thursday: 7 p.m. service. Communion available from 6:30-6:45 p.m. for those not attending. Easter Sunday: Identical traditional services at 9:30 and 10:30 a.m. All services are restricted to 10 people.

St. Elizabeth of Hungary, North Adams

Masses and Stations of the Cross can be viewed on Northern Berkshire Community Television Channel 1301 and St. Elizabeth's Facebook page.

Palm Sunday: 10 a.m. Mass; Wednesday: 7 p.m. Tenebrae Mass; Holy Thursday: 7 p.m. Mass; Good Friday: The Stations of the Cross at noon and Celebration of the Lord's Passion at 3 p.m.; Holy Saturday: 7 p.m. Easter Vigil Mass; Easter Sunday: 10 a.m. Mass.

Unitarian Universalist Meeting of South Berkshire, Housatonic

Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday: 10:30 a.m. online worship. Visit uumsb.org for the link.

Zion Lutheran Church, Pittsfield

Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday: 10 a.m. worship will be livestreamed at facebook.com/zionlutheranpittsfield, or visit zionlutheranpittsfield.org for a link.

Washington National Cathedral of the Episcopal Church

Palm Sunday: 11:15 a.m.; Maundy Thursday: 7 p.m.; Good Friday: noon; Easter Sunday: 11:15 a.m. Live webcasts at cathedral.org.


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