By Crystal Cranmore

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Social distancing to combat the spread of the coronavirus is impacting Palm Sunday. Church pews will be empty today, as local priests hold virtual masses.

For many worshippers, they are taking a leap of faith as they seek the word of God and comfort in these difficult times from behind a computer or television screen.

In the past, the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter And Paul has been packed with worshippers on Palm Sunday.


The day marks the beginning of Holy Week, one of the most important and sacred days for Christians around the world.

Christians often celebrate with processions and the distribution of palms.

Some churches have chosen not to distribute palm, even sanitized ones out of fear of spreading COVID-19.

We spoke with Father Dennis Gill and asked his advice to the faithful.

“It is extremely sad, but it’s part of our present reality. I would encourage people if they cannot take advantage of participating at a distance, by watching it stream on their computer or their television screen. They can certainly participate by reading the sacred scripture assigned to that day, making a spiritual communion that is uniting themselves to the mass,” Gill said.

Services at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul will begin streaming at 11 a.m. Sunday.

To watch the live stream, click here.