CHICAGO —  Sunday was the first in-person Easter celebration for many Christians worldwide in two years.

Mass throughout the day attracted thousands of parishioners from near and far, happy to celebrate and worship together again. Church bells rang and choirs sang to packed pews at Easter Mass at Holy Name Cathedral.  

For Anneliese Schneider from Austria, attending mass fuels her spirit. 

“They had a gorgeous mass and I’m so happy, so many people attended,” Schneider said. “It’s part of my life.” 

Unlike Holy Week in 2021, when covid restrictions limited the number of people who could worship in person, parishes are back to full capacity. 

“Now that we can openly come celebrate, it was an honor to be here in person,” parishioner Karen Cadet said.  

Seeing the pews full gives hope to Father Andy Matijevic, who gave his first Easter Homily as a priest. 

“Being here today, just seeing the people standing all over the place crowding that back, that faith still means something to them,” Matijevic said.  

For husband and dad Derold Saintilus, Easter equates to transformation. 

“It’s an opportunity to make internal changes,” Saintilus said. “Regardless of faith, you can use it as an opportunity to become a new person in terms of the things you want to be.”