We started weeping in April, and we haven’t stopped’: Baltimore’s Latino community racked by coronavirus

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In a parish of mostly young Latino families, the congregation has grappled with death after death this year. More than two dozen of the families weren’t allowed to hold funerals inside the East Baltimore church. The rituals of overnight vigils, of eating and hugging and remembering, were lost. Instead, because of the pandemic, they gathered in the parish’s Dundalk cemetery, with the priest speaking prayers through a megaphone. Loved ones stood nearby, often unable to even touch.

“We started weeping in April, and we haven’t stopped weeping, and you wonder, how many tears can a community cry?” said Bishop Bruce A. Lewandowski, pastor of Sacred Heart, who noted that funerals are rare in Baltimore’s Latino community because its members are so young. “Before COVID, on a rare occasion, somebody died in a car accident or a construction mishap.”