By Maria Rocha-Buschel
The NYPD announced heightened security measures at houses of worship throughout the city over the Easter weekend in light of bombings in Colombo, Sri Lanka over the holiday and while some local churches noticed an increase in officers during the weekend, parishioners mainly celebrated the holidays in good spirits.
“I don’t think people knew why (the officers) were there and no one expressed any concern, but we did pray for the people of Sri Lanka during the mass,” said Father Jim Mayzik of Epiphany Church, noting that officers stood outside the church on the plaza during the services. “It was a nice day and we had a giant number of people come to celebrate the holiday.”
Karin Rosner, a spokesperson for Calvary-St. George’s, said that she had actually requested the presence of auxiliary officers during the church’s Palm Sunday Procession in Gramercy and the Maundy Thursday Procession from Stuyvesant Square up to Gramercy with the violence in Pittsburgh in mind, but there was also a noticeable police presence at Calvary on Easter Sunday, with at least two officers at the church for the 11 a.m. service.
A police spokesperson said that Critical Response Command and Strategic Response Group resources were making periodic visits to all houses of worship over the weekend, giving special attention to those holding Easter services.
The bombings in Sri Lanka targeted Christian churches on Easter Sunday, with at least 350 people killed and 500 injured.