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Holy Week guidelines for parishioners from the Office of Divine Worship

March 22, 2021

The Palm Sunday Liturgy and the Liturgies of the Easter Triduum are celebrated on the Church’s High Holy Days. They are not preparing for Easter, they are Easter. On these days above all others, the faithful are encouraged to participate fully, actively and wholeheartedly.

To ensure the safety of everyone during this time of Pandemic, the Holy See has issued guidelines for the Universal Church regarding the celebration of the rites of Holy Week. The basic principle underlying the guidelines is that situations that invite gatherings of people where there might be a risk of contagion are to be avoided. The wearing of masks, social distancing and sanitizing remain in force.

Rites which include gatherings of persons in close proximity such as processions are eliminated for this year as follows:

  • On Palm Sunday the Third Form or Simple Entrance is to take place in parish churches. Members of the assembly may take palm as they arrive for Mass. (It should be noted that the blessing of the palm is derived from its connection with the celebration of the Eucharist.)
  • On Holy Thursday the Mandatum or Foot-washing ceremony is eliminated. The procession with the Eucharist to the place of reposition is not to take place and the Blessed Sacrament is to be reposed in the tabernacle as at Sunday Mass.
  • On Good Friday the assembly will be invited to adore the cross all together while in place, as the celebrant holds the Cross elevated for a brief time.
  • On Holy Saturday, the rites at the Easter Vigil have been simplified in accord with the above-mentioned principles and will all take place in the church. Only the Easter Candle will be lighted in the darkened church since the assembly extinguishing individual candles (by blowing) is problematic.

Hopefully, informed in advance of the precautions being taken, the faithful will feel assured of the parish’s concern for their safety during these special days.

-Office of Divine Worship