Portland, Maine, Mar 31, 2020 / 16:00 pm
With public Masses cancelled across the United States, ahead of Palm Sunday this weekend, some Maine Catholics are being encouraged to adopt a substitute devotional practice: pine branches.
Traditionally, Catholics receive blessed palm branches during Mass on Palm Sunday, this year celebrated on 5 April, to mark Christ's arrival into Jerusalem and the start of Holy Week. That will not happen this year, due to the coronavirus outbreak and the nationwide suspension of public Masses.
"Unfortunately, we won't be blessing any palms in this year's celebration because we won't be able to process with them, nor can we distribute them so that you can place blessed palms in your home after Mass," said Fr. Louis Phillips of the Diocese of Portland (ME) said.
Instead, he has suggested to his parishioners at his three parishes to go outside--in a socially-distant manner--and clip a small pine branch to place behind a crucifix.