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Vatican: Easter can’t be changed to a different date; some processions could be

Antoine Mekary | ALETEIA

Kathleen N. Hattrup - published on 03/20/20

Vatican's department for liturgy and worship releases guidelines for Holy Week in the time of COVID-19

Easter can’t be moved to a different date, but perhaps some of the processions and other expressions of piety that enrich Holy Week can be moved to September 14 and 15, the feasts of the Triumph of the Cross and Our Lady of Sorrows, says a statement from the Vatican’s department on liturgy and worship.

A “Decree in time of COVID-19” was released March 20 and signed by Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the dicastery, to give guidelines about how Easter and Holy Week will be celebrated in these times.

The document says the Chrism Mass, usually celebrated on the morning of Holy Thursday or sometimes earlier in Holy Week, can be changed to another date.

As far as the Triduum — Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday — bishops and priests will celebrate the liturgies where possible, albeit without the faithful. As much as possible, the faithful should be able to tune in from their homes, especially when possible to live (not pre-recorded) broadcasts.

For Holy Thursday, bishops and priests can celebrate the Mass of the Last Supper without the people. There won’t be the Washing of the Feet or the Procession of the Eucharist at the end of the Mass. The Eucharist will simply be kept in the tabernacle.

For Good Friday, bishops and priests can celebrate the Passion of the Lord. A prayer for “the sick, the dead, and those who feel lost or dismayed” should be added to the Universal Prayers.

For Holy Saturday/Easter Vigil, the lighting of the Easter fire is omitted as is the procession. The Exultet and Liturgy of the Word follows, with just the renewal of baptismal promises after that, and then the Liturgy of the Eucharist.

These guidelines are given by the pope and apply only to the year 2020.

See the whole decree here.


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