New normal: Worshiping in the age of COVID-19

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May 28, 2020
VINCENZO PINTO/AFP via Getty Images

New normal: Worshiping in the age of COVID-19

Around the world, houses of worship are reopening, and they all bear the distinct mark of the COVID-19 influence—prayer rugs are 6 feet apart, pews are mostly empty, entry is permitted only after temperature screenings, and masks are donned along with traditional vestments.  

The need for connection—be it spiritual or just human— is, for many people the world over, at an all-time high. And while we can’t yet exchange physical offerings of peace, love, and prayer, we can begin entering the sacred and holy places central to our spirituality. The world can worship together, but physically apart. 

Click through to see images from around the world curated by Stacker depicting how worshipping is changing in the wake of COVID-19.

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ANWAR AMRO/AFP via Getty Images

Friday prayers in Lebanon

Worshippers keep a safe distance from each other at the Mohammad Al-Amin Mosque in the Lebanese capital of Beirut.

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LOUAI BESHARA/AFP via Getty Images

Temperature checks in Syria

A medic checks the temperature of a Syrian worshipper before entering the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus.

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Liam McBurney/PA Images via Getty Images

Solitary prayers in Ireland

Belfast's oldest Catholic Church, St Mary's in Chapel Lane, placed signs to create a one-way system, installed hand sanitizer gel dispensers at the entrance, and limited the number of pews open for parishioners to maintain a 2-meter distance.

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Igor Onuchin\TASS via Getty Images

Outdoor services in Russia

Priest Roman Tsokur and believers during an outdoor service at St Tatiana's church of the Trubilin Kuban State Agrarian University in Krasnodar, Russia.

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PAUL FAITH/AFP via Getty Images

Drive-in services in Northern Ireland

Pastor Billy Jones stands inside a potato delivery truck as he delivers his sermon to his parishioners, sat inside their cars to social distance, in the parking lot at Dunseverick Baptist Church in Northern Ireland on May 24 during a drive-in Sunday church service.

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Omer Urer/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Mosques disinfected in Turkey

Akcakoca Mosque, Turkey's only octagon mosque, is being disinfected as a preventive measure against COVID-19.

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Nayan Kar / Echoes Wire/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Masks worn at Mosques

Muslims offer prayers at the Baitul Mukarram National Mosque in Dhaka, Bangladesh, during the Eid al-Fitr festival.

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Asep Solihin / Sijori images/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Eid al-Fitr prayers in Indonesia

Muslims attend Eid al-Fitr prayers at a field in the Bandung, West Java province, Indonesia, on May 24.

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Alessandra Benedetti - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images

Return of the faithful in Rome

Nuns and faithfuls attend the Regina Caeli Sunday prayer in the reopened St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican on May 24 in Rome.

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Galih Yoga / Opn Images/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Plastic partitions in Indonesia

Residents pray in a mosque fitted with plastic curtains at the Ar-Rosuli Islamic Boarding School in Semarang regency in Indonesia. 

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Alaattin Dogru/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Preparing for prayer in Senegal

People disinfect their hands for Friday prayer at the entrance of the Massalikul Jinaan Mosque in Dakar. 

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Chaiwat Subprasom/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Masked prayer at a Buddhist temple in Thailand

Buddhist monks wearing face masks as a preventive measure pray at Phleng temple in Thailand. 

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Brian Lawless/PA Images via Getty Images

Contact-free donations in Northern Ireland

A deacon at Maghaberry Elim Pentecostal Church, Craigavon, deposits offerings and mission boxes given by attendees at a drive-in service.

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CLEMENT MAHOUDEAU/AFP via Getty Images

Worshipping from a distance in France

Believers wearing protective face masks attend the first mass publicly given at the Notre Dame de la Garde Basilica in Marseille on May 24.

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MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

Confessions from cars in Maryland

Father Scott Holmer hears confessions in the parking lot of St. Edward the Confessor Catholic Church in Bowie, Maryland.

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MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP via Getty Images

A moment of introspection in Italy

A woman attends a mass at the Cappella Feriale of the Duomo cathedral in Milan on May 18.

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JOHANNES EISELE/AFP via Getty Images

Live-streaming services in New York

Fabian Arias, a Lutheran pastor with Saint Peter's Church in Manhattan, prepares his Sunday services via an internet live stream on May 24 in the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan.

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Guillaume Pinon/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Sanitary measures at a cathedral in Spain

A person washes his hands as he enters the cathedral as part of the sanitarian measurements, in Malaga, Spain, on May 24.

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Liam McBurney/PA Images via Getty Images

Limited pews for parishioners in Northern Ireland

Belfast's oldest Catholic Church, St. Mary's in Chapel Lane, reopens for solitary prayer.

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Piyas Biswas/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Fatherly assistance in Bangladesh

A father adjusts his son's face mask during Eid al-Fitr prayers at the Baitul Mukarram National Mosque.

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ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP via Getty Images

Broadcasting to the community in Ivory Coast

Imam records his preaching of the Friday prayer to be broadcast on social networks in Abidjan.

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UNI KRISWANTO/AFP via Getty Images

Social distancing in a temple in Indonesia

Devotees wearing face masks as a preventive measure against the spread of COVID-19 practice social distancing while praying at a temple in Surabaya on May 7 as Buddhists celebrate Vesak Day.

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Alessandra Benedetti - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images

Alone in a basilica in Italy

A woman prays inside Santa Maria in Trastevere Basilica on May 10 in Rome. Italy has eased its movement restrictions after a two-month lockdown.

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VINCENZO PINTO/AFP via Getty Images

Safety measures at St. Peter's Basilica in Rome

A nun undergoes body-temperature scanning while going through security to access St. Peter's Square and Basilica on May 18 in the Vatican.

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FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images

Portraits of parishioners in Switzerland

An altar boy stands in the central aisle of the Basilica of Neuchatel. Pews display the portraits of 400 parishioners unable to attend mass due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

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MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP via Getty Images

Protecting the Buddha in Bangkok, Thailand

A face mask is placed on the face of a giant Buddha statue at Wat Nithet Rat Pradit temple in Pathum Thani outside Bangkok on May 12.

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Sameer Sehgal/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

Every little bit helps in India

A young volunteer wipes off the rainwater at the Golden Temple complex during the nationwide lockdown to check the spread of the coronavirus on May 14 in Amritsar, India.

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NARINDER NANU/AFP via Getty Images

Prayers and reflections in India

A Sikh devotee pays his respects from afar on the anniversary of Guru Amar Das at the Golden Temple.

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ISHARA S. KODIKARA/AFP via Getty Images

Buddhists and Hindus pray together in Sri Lanka

A Buddhist monk (center-left) seated next to a Hindu priest (center-right) gives a sermon as Buddhist and Hindu devotees pray on Vesak Day, a festival also known as Buddha Jayanti to commemorate the birth, enlightenment, and death of Gautama Buddha, at the Sri Gnanabairava Swami Hindu temple in Colombo.

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PRAKASH SINGH/AFP via Getty Images)

New sanitation practices in India

A volunteer of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal sanitizes the Hanuman temple in New Delhi.

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Diwakar Prasad/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

Sanitizing the sacred in India

A municipal corporation worker sanitizes a temple on Purulia Road in Ranchi, India.

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JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images

Distant prayer outside a closed synagogue in Israel

Jewish men wearing the tallit, a traditional Jewish prayer shawl, and the tefillin (or phylacteries), a small black leather box containing scrolls of parchment with verses from the Torah, pray keeping distance from each other outside their closed synagogue in Netanya.

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Lucas Silva/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Protected prayers in Brazil

Members of the Church of the International Reconstruction Ministry in protective suits pray for a person through a drive-in of prayer.

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ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP via Getty Images

A new door policy in Mexico City

The Rev. Esteban Lopez wears a face mask as he checks the temperature of the people before entering the Sagrada Familia Church in Mexico City.

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PAUL RATJE/AFP via Getty Images)

Evening communion in cars in New Mexico

Father Christoper Williams gives communion to parishioners in their cars outside of the Basilica of San Albino on May 2 in Mesilla, New Mexico.

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Joe Raedle/Getty Images

A return to prayer in Florida

Members of the Potential Church in Cooper City, Florida, pray together after the church opened its doors on May 24 to a select group of people with safety measures in place.

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Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Solitude inside a chapel in Boston

Mario Carvalho prays inside the Blessed Sacrament Chapel attached to the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston, which has roped off pews to cut down on the number of people who can be inside at one time, part of a social distancing measure.

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VINCENZO PINTO/AFP via Getty Images)

Queuing at the Vatican

People line up in respect of security distancing to access St. Peter's Basilica on May 18.

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