Cardinal Robert Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation of Divine Worship, issued a decree on the Feast of Saint Joseph regarding the celebration of Holy Week in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
After recognizing the difficult times we are living through, he writes in response to various inquiries that have arisen from Bishops from throughout the world. He then gives general indications and suggestions.
- Easter – the liturgical celebration of Easter cannot be transferred to a later date.
- Chrism Mass – the local Bishop has the faculty to postpone it to a later date.
- Paschal Triduum – the Bishop and priests can celebrate the Triduum liturgies without the physical participation of the faithful. The faithful however must be informed of the times these will be celebrated so they may unite themselves in prayer, and they should be broadcast on television and/or the internet.
- Holy Thursday – The washing of feet is to be omitted, as well as the procession with the Blessed Sacrament to the altar of repose.
- Good Friday – The bishop will ensure that a special intention is inserted for the sick, the dead, for those who feel lost or dismayed.
- Easter Vigil – The Easter fire and procession are omitted, the Renewal of Baptismal Promises alone is necessary during the Baptismal Liturgy.
Celebrating Holy Week without the presence of the faithful means that baptisms, confirmations and first communions that usually take place during the Easter Vigil will take place at a later date.
We are all in this together. With so many changes, cancellations, and suspensions, we have been given days of silence and reflection. How can I best make use of these quiet, still days? Turn off the news, stop wondering what will happen tomorrow, and trust in Jesus today. Day by day things will unravel, and day by day He will be with us.
Picture is mine, all rights reserved. Seville, Spain, 2007.