Pope: Easter celebrations change due to the epidemic

The epidemic is also changing papal liturgical rites. Today, Holy Thursday, Francis will not celebrate the chrism mass, the mass that every bishop celebrates together with his clergy, due to the impossibility of gathering the Roman priests in St Peter’s basilica. The celebration will take place after the crisis is over.

The Mass in Coena Domini will be held at 6 pm at the altar of the Chair without the traditional ritual of washing the feet (which can be omitted from the rite) and will not end with the reposition of the Blessed Sacrament at the end of the celebration.

There will be two moments on Good Friday. The first is the Liturgy of the Passion and Adoration of the Cross, at 6 pm, in St Peter’s Basilica. The Crucifix of Saint Marcellus will be covered. Like every year, there will be a meditation by the preacher of the pontifical house, Father Raniero Cantalamessa, then the Crucifix will be covered. There will be adoration but not the kissing of the cross.

In the evening, at 9 pm, the Via Crucis, or Way of the Cross, will be held in St Peter’s Square, with the stations along the colonnade, around the obelisk and finally along the path that leads up the steps f the basilica to the main door. Two groups of bearers of the cross. There will be prisoners from the Due Palazzi prison in Padua (meditations have been written by some of them), and doctors and nurses from the Vatican’s Health Service. Doctors and nurses are at the forefront of service to the sick affected by the pandemic.

During the Holy Saturday Vigil, at 9 pm, no baptisms will be celebrated. The initial lighting of the fire ceremony will take place behind the confessional altar. There will be no lights for those present and the singing of the three “lumen Christi” invocations will take place only with the lights in sequence in the Basilica during the procession to the altar of the Chair. The bells of Saint Peter will ring at the time of the Gloria announcing the resurrection.

At Easter the Pope will celebrate mass at 11 am at the altar of the Chair. At the end of the mass, Francis will pronounce the Urbi et Orbi message and will give the Easter blessing before the altar of Confession.

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