It's somewhat sad to think that Easter Sunday won't be like it used to be.

For all of my life, at least, there's always been an Easter. Sunday Mass was a tradition and visiting family was hearty and fulfilling. Not this year, though.

The spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus has caused just about everything to come to a halt, including holidays. However, with religious spirits running low, one student from Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School has created something to lift us up a bit.

Her name is Jill Fernandes and she's restoring the faith of Easter Sunday here on the SouthCoast:

"I was driving home one night right when quarantine started and got an idea. I wanted to put a cross up at my church as a sign of hope during this pandemic. I called Eileen Larkin Frasier and she thought it was a great idea. I’m happy with the way it came out and thankful that Father Michael Racine let me put it in front of the church." -Jill Fernandes

Fernandes noticed a cross hanging from her rearview mirror while driving home and that's when an idea came across her mind to build a cross for her church as a "sign of hope" during the COVID-19 epidemic.

"I called another youth group member without even having the blueprints drawn up yet and told him about my idea," Fernandes said. "If you ask literally anyone in my life, they will confirm that I have 'big ideas' that are sometimes impossible for someone my age, but I somehow manage to do it."

The statue of Jesus stands tall at St. Lawrence Martyr on County Street in New Bedford and Fernandes told Fun 107 that it will be changed to an Easter cross this coming weekend. The money to pay for all materials for this project came right from Fernandes' pocket.

"I figured that I would be spending the same amount of money going out with friends or buying random stuff, so I didn't mind," Fernandes said.

It's no surprise that she was the recipient of the Pope Pius X service award from St. Lawrence in 2019 and helped start the church's youth group after her confirmation. Helping out her community and reminding everyone that the message of Easter are both still very much alive in her heart.

"Thank you to everyone that has inspired my faith journey and help me continue to grow in my faith. Happy Easter, everyone!" she said.

READ MORE: Inspiring Stories From the Coronavirus Pandemic

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