THE election of Pope Francis and various other factors have been given as possible explanations for larger than usual numbers of worshippers attending Easter liturgies across Queensland this year.
Bishop Michael Putney of Townsville said Easter celebrations in the city’s Sacred Heart Cathedral had been “the most exciting and vibrant” he’d witnessed in his 12 years as bishop.
Maryborough parish priest Fr Paul Kelly said a noticeable increase in numbers attending Good Friday liturgies had been a feature of this year’s Easter ceremonies.
“I think the sufferings of Our Lord rings a bell with people after the disasters which hit the region earlier this year,” he said.
More than 1600 people packed into an Easter Sunday morning Mass at St Stephen’s Cathedral, Brisbane, one of the largest crowds in several years.
Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane was reported to have said “it was too early to tell if Pope Francis had made any real impact yet”.
“I do think he has changed the mood and that’s surprised me and there’s something deeply refreshing about his style,” he said.
Wynnum parish priest Capuchin Father John Spiteri was “absolutely delighted” by the parish response to Easter, particularly as regards Confession.
“As many as 50 people attended Mass every day during Holy Week and this kept building, plus myself and another priest were flat out hearing Confessions especially on Holy Saturday morning from 10 till 12.30pm,” he said.
A spokeswoman for Surfers Paradise parish said the Sacred Heart Church at Clear Island was estimated to have had about 2000 people attending the 9am Easter Sunday Mass.
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