Vatican City, Feb 17, 2021 / 07:00 am
The Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments issued guidelines on Wednesday for the celebration of Holy Week this year in light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
In the note signed Feb. 17 by the congregation’s prefect Cardinal Robert Sarah and secretary Archbishop Arthur Roche, the congregation said that bishops were called upon to make prudent decisions regarding the liturgy in line with the Vatican decree on Holy Week liturgies issued in March 2020, which will remain valid for this year.
“We therefore invite you to re-read it in view of the decisions that bishops will have to make about the upcoming Easter celebrations in the particular situation of their country,” it said.
“Many countries still have strict lockdown conditions in force rendering it impossible for the faithful to be present in church, while in others a more normal pattern of worship is being resumed.”
The congregation noted that the use of social media has aided pastors in offering support to their communities during the pandemic, but it added that “problematic aspects were also observed.”
In light of this concern, the Vatican suggested that media coverage of the Holy Week liturgies offered by the local bishop are “facilitated and favored, encouraging the faithful who are unable to attend their own church to follow the diocesan celebrations as a sign of unity.”
The guidelines also recommended the preparation of prayer aids for family and personal prayer that make use of the Liturgy of the Hours.
The decree issued in March 2020 by the Congregation for Divine Worship, which remains valid in 2021, included the following guidelines for the liturgies of Holy Week in areas where there are restrictions on public gatherings from civil and Church authorities: