Catholic believers overflowed this Palm Sunday in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Managua, capital of Nicaragua, to participate in the first religious procession after a two-year break as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dressed in palm leaves and wearing masks, hundreds of faithful crowded into the extensive grounds of the Immaculate Conception of Mary Cathedral to participate in the “donkey procession”, which had not been held since 2019, when the Episcopal Conference of Nicaragua suspended face-to-face religious activities, to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
To the procession, which was led by Cardinal Leopoldo Breneswas followed by the Mass of the Palms, which the attendees witnessed with expectation and slogans typical of the Catholic Church, after receiving the blessing of the palms.
The cathedral scene was repeated in various parishes in Nicaragua, where a similar environment had not been experienced since the time before the pandemic, which reached the country in March 2019.
“Two years that we had not been able to celebrate it with all the solemnity, as is typical of us, however, I believe that in a virtual way we have lived these years our closeness and our encounter with Jesus Christ,” Brenes told the believers after concluding the mass.
During the ceremony, dedicated to forgiveness, the cardinal asked God to pray for the deceased, for those who are still living, and for the pandemic to end soon.
Brenes, a survivor of COVID-19, also reminded “so many friends and family members who died from COVID and are no longer with us, pray for them and ask our good God that this pandemic can now disappear from this world. and, as Pope Francis says, joy returns to our homes.”
According to the Nicaraguan Ministry of Health (Minsa), COVID-19 has left 231 dead and 18,511 confirmed cases, since the first patient was announced in Nicaraguan territory.
The official data contrasts with that of the COVID-19 Citizen Observatory, a network of independent doctors that monitors the pandemic and that reports 5,991 deaths from pneumonia and other symptoms related to the new coronavirus, as well as 32,114 suspected cases of contagion, figures that the government does not recognize
During “Palm Sunday”, in Nicaragua the presence of people walking through the streets with the traditional yellow palm leaves was notorious, on their way to the parishes or on their way home, as was the case before the pandemic.