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Rome Reports

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Vatican decree “in time of Covid-19” explains changes to Holy Week celebrations

The Vatican has decided what to do for this year's Holy Week celebrations, amid the coronavirus crisis.

It clearly states that the date of Easter “cannot be transferred to another time,” due to its central importance in the liturgical year.

Instead, Chrism Mass and processions traditionally observed during Holy Week can be postponed to a later date, to be decided by bishops. One recommended date is Sept. 14, the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.

For the Paschal Triduum, where public celebrations cannot be held, bishops and parish priests are asked to inform the faithful so they can follow live (not recorded) broadcasts.

On Holy Thursday, parish priests can celebrate evening Mass of the Lord's Supper, without the traditional washing of the feet nor the procession with the Blessed Sacrament to the place of repose.

For Good Friday, where possible, the bishop or parish priest will celebrate the Passion of the Lord to the extent possible.

For the Easter Vigil, the lighting of the fire will be omitted. The Baptismal Liturgy will be limited to the renewal of baptismal promises.

These changes are valid for the year 2020 only.

Link to decree: here