Note from the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments on the celebrations of Holy Week in times of Covid-19. "It is suggested to facilitate and privilege the media coverage of the celebrations presided over by the bishop, encouraging the faithful who are unable to attend their own church to follow the diocesan celebrations as a sign of unity".
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Celebrations inside churches, no processions and no washing of the feet, expand the use of social media. These are some of the indications suggested by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments in a note on the celebrations of Holy Week in times of Covid-19.
The Note, signed by the prefect, Cardinal Robert Sarah, and by the secretary, Archbishop Arthur Roche, sent to bishops and episcopal conferences around the world, reminds us that "in many countries, strict lockdown conditions are still in force, making it impossible for the faithful to attend church, while in others a more normal life of worship is being resumed”.
"For the celebrations of Holy Week it is suggested to facilitate and privilege the media coverage of the celebrations presided over by the bishop, encouraging the faithful who are unable to attend their own church to follow the diocesan celebrations as a sign of unity". In all celebrations, in concert with the episcopal conference, it is then necessary to "pay attention to some particular moments and gestures, respecting health measures". It also encourages "the preparation of suitable aids for family and personal prayer, also enhancing some parts of the Liturgy of the Hours".
In the Note of the Congregation for Divine Worship, it is also recalled that the decree of last March 25 still remains valid, for which the celebration of Palm Sunday must take place "inside the sacred building". Cathedrals are required to adopt "the second form foreseen by the Roman Missal, in parish churches and in other places the third".
With regards the Chrism Mass, bishops will be able, depending on the situation of the country, to indicate a possible transfer to another more suitable day, if necessary, because it is advisable that "a significant representation of pastors, ministers and faithful" participate.
For Holy Thursday, it is established that the washing of the feet is to be "omitted". Not even the final procession will take place and the Blessed Sacrament will be kept in the tabernacle. Exceptionally, priests are granted the faculty to celebrate Mass "without the participation of the people, in a suitable place".
On Holy Friday, in universal prayer, it will be the care of the bishops "to prepare a special intention for those in a situation of loss, the sick, the deceased".
The Easter Vigil will be celebrated "exclusively in cathedral and parish churches" and that for the baptismal liturgy "only the renewal of baptismal promises is maintained".