Bishops of Italy encourage Catholics to participate in person at Holy Week

Jasjot Singh

The Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI) published its guidelines for the celebrations of Holy Week 2022, inviting Catholics to participate in person; and they also offered some additional indications regarding the government’s decision to lift the state of emergency due to COVID.

“The faithful are urged to participate in the liturgical celebrations in person, limiting the resumption of the transmission of the celebrations and the use of social networks to participate in them,” said a letter published on March 25, after The Government lifted the state of emergency on Thursday 24.

For those who cannot attend in person, the letter assured that “the CIS media -Tv2000 and the InBlu radio circuit- will broadcast all the celebrations presided over by the Holy Father”.

Regarding the celebrations of Holy Week, the bishops proposed that for Palm Sunday “ministers and the faithful have olive or palm branches in their hands, avoiding the delivery or exchange of branches.”

On Holy Thursday, at the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, if the foot-washing rite is performed, “it is advisable to wash your hands every time and wear a mask.”

For Good Friday, the Italian bishops exhorted to “introduce in the universal prayer an intention ‘for those who suffer because of the war'”. In addition, for the act of adoration of the cross, they ask to prevent the faithful from kissing it.

Regarding the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday, the bishops specified that “it can be celebrated in all its parts as provided in the rite.”

Indications for Masses

The CEI reported that, after the exchange of communications with the Italian Government, “the possibility of prudently resuming” the face-to-face celebrations is offered.

The prelates indicated that the protocol of May 7, 2020 that regulated the presence of the faithful in the celebrations will be in force until this Friday, April 1.

However, they asked the faithful to continue to use the mask in places of worship until April 30; and that the distance of one meter between attendees is maintained, although the latter is not mandatory.

The prelates recalled the need to wash their hands or use alcohol before entering places of worship. They indicated that in these there will still be no holy water nor will the greeting of peace be given with the hand.

Regarding Communion, the bishops indicated that it will continue to be given “preferably in the hand” and asked that people who have any symptoms do not participate in the Mass and keep due isolation.

The bishops also requested to maintain the indication to clean the places of worship before and after Masses.

The Italian prelates stressed that it is now possible to carry out the processions.

Finally, the CEI pointed out that, according to the reality of each diocese, the bishops will be able to determine the indications that apply to each particular reality.

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