Belgian doctor Inge Adam and her son Thomas watch a mass by priest Wim Simons live on Facebook, during a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) lockdown, in Herk-de-Stad, Belgium April 2, 2020. REUTERS/Yves Herman
HERK-DE-STAD, Belgium (Reuters) – A Belgian priest who began livestreaming services and prayer sessions after coronavirus restrictions closed his church has found a far larger congregation online than he had before.
Wim Simons’ webcasts on Facebook have drawn worshippers from across Dutch-speaking Belgium and the Netherlands as well as his regular churchgoers.
“It has really grown. In this time of crisis, people may be looking for some inner peace such as through a moment of blessing,” he said before one of his daily services.
One Sunday, his online audience was over 30 times larger than the 150 people Simons says he usually sees at St Martinus church in Herk-de-Stad, a small town in Limburg in eastern Belgium, where coronavirus infections have been highest.
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