Public celebrations of Holy Week canceled
Friday, Mar. 27, 2020
This rendering of Jesus meeting the women of Jerusalem is among the Stations of the Cross at the Cathedral of the Madeleine.
SALT LAKE CITY — All Holy Week, Triduum and Easter services in the Diocese of Salt Lake City will be celebrated without the presence of the congregation, Bishop Oscar A. Solis decreed in a memo dated March 19.
The schedule of livestreamed celebrations will be published when it is available.
Bishop Solis’ decree follows that issued by the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments in Rome, which states in part, “Wherever the civil and ecclesiastical authorities have put restrictions in place, the Sacred Triduum must be celebrated in the following way: Bishops will give indications, which have been agreed with the Episcopal Conference, so that, in the Cathedral and parish churches, though without the physical participation of the faithful, the Bishop and parish priest(s) can celebrate the liturgical mysteries of the Pascal Triduum. The faithful should be informed of the times of the celebration so that they can prayerfully unite themselves in their homes. …”
In addition, the preparation and lighting of the fire and the procession is to be omitted, the decree states. The Pascal Candle will be lit, followed by the Easter Proclamation (Exsultet) and the Liturgy of the Word, the Renewal of Baptismal Promises and the Liturgy of the Eucharist.
“Those who have absolutely no possibility of uniting themselves to the Paschal Vigil celebrated in a church should pray the Office of Readings for Easter Sunday,” the decree states.
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, priests in the Diocese of Salt Lake City are to limit participation in all Holy Week services, Bishop Solis said in his memo. Participants may include a possible concelebrant, deacon, two servers, an instrumentalist and cantor, or a choir of no more than three members to enhance the liturgy.
The Celebration of the Sacraments of Initiation will be postponed until the pandemic passes.
If pastors plan to distribute blessed palms on Palm Sunday, April 5, they must do so in accordance with the safety and sanitary directives issued by the diocese, Bishop Solis said.
The Chrism Mass this year in the Diocese of Salt Lake City will be celebrated, without the congregation, on Holy Thursday. The Holy Oils blessed at the Mass will be distributed to the parishes and missions.
On Holy Thursday, “the faculty to celebrate Mass on this day in a suitable place, without the people, is granted in an exceptional manner to all priests,” the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments states. “The washing of feet, which is already optional, is to be omitted. At the end of the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, the procession with the Blessed Sacrament to the place of repose is to be omitted and the Blessed Sacrament is to be kept in the tabernacle. Priests who are unable to celebrate Mass should instead pray Vespers of the day.”