Vatican City, Mar 25, 2020 / 11:01 am
After dioceses throughout the world suspended public Masses amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Congregation for Divine Worship has updated its decree on Holy Week liturgies.
The Congregation for Eastern Churches issued a similar decree.
“Given that the date of Easter cannot be transferred, in the countries which have been struck by the disease and where restrictions around the assembly and movement of people have been imposed, Bishops and priests may celebrate the rites of Holy Week without the presence of the people and in a suitable place, avoiding concelebration and omitting the sign of peace,” states the updated decree issued by the Congregation for Divine Worship March 25.
The document recommends that parishes and dioceses inform Catholics of times of Easter Sunday Mass and other Holy Week liturgies, so that “they can prayerfully unite themselves in their homes” via live broadcast or streaming, if possible.
“In any event it remains important to dedicate an adequate time to prayer, giving importance above all to the Liturgia Horarum.”
The Congregation for Eastern Churches also issued recommendations March 25, while calling on the heads of all Eastern Catholic Churches to issue norms sui iuris in accordance with the measures established by civil authorities for containment of the contagion.
The recommendations for Eastern Catholic rites include maintaining feast days on the liturgical calendar by live broadcast, limiting participation of the choir, and encouraging prayer at home.
On Good Friday, Eastern Catholics are encouraged to read the texts of their traditions for prayer around the Cross and the tomb of Christ. On the night of Pascha, families are also invited to ring festive bells, light a lamp, sing traditional songs, and read the Gospel of the Resurrection.