“Praise be to God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” 1 Peter 1:3
The celebration of Easter Triduum is the highest liturgical celebration in which we as a community of the faithful gathers to celebrate the mystery of our salvation by commemorating the passion, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. This brings a hopeful anticipation for the pandemic to end and a renewed life and transformed society. We, then praise God, the Father almighty for His protection and guidance
After a year from the start of the pandemic, our ways of celebrating our worship are limited by existing guidelines and protocols set by our national and local government. However, today we are allowed to celebrate the liturgy with the presence of the faithful with the limited scale. This will modify our celebrations for the Holy Week and Easter Triduum this year.
Taking into consideration the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines’ recommendations for the Celebration of the Holy Week and Easter Triduum, and the Decree of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, the following instructions for the liturgical celebrations during this time of pandemic will help us find the balance between the worthy celebrations of the Paschal Triduum and our charitable response to stem the rapid transmission of the virus
In implementing the following guidelines, it is important to coordinate with our civil leaders and law enforcers to help us implement the basic protocols and to ensure the security and the order of the celebrations. Priests must be discerning in adapting and implementing the guidelines as well as in organizing activities and spiritual exercises for the Holy Week and Easter Triduum.
“The Commemoration of the Lord’s Entrance into Jerusalem is to be celebrated within the sacred building.” (CDWD Decree, March 25, 2020)
In parish churches, the second form of the celebration is to be followed but in the modified way. The faithful must be in their places inside the church before the start of the celebration. The presider begins at the main door of the church. After the singing of an antiphon or appropriate chant, the priest and the people make a sign of the cross. Then, the priest greets the people and pray the Prayer of Blessing. He may sprinkle the palms with holy water while remaining in his place. It will be followed by the proclamation of the Gospel. A brief homily maybe given. After a short silence ,the entrance procession begins while the choir and the faithful sing the Hosanna.
The blessing of palms maybe celebrated in other scheduled masses in the parish in order to decongest the number of the faithful.
Considering the present status in our local church, we retain the traditional schedule of the celebration of Chrism Mass, that is, on Holy Thursday. However, we limit the attendance for the priests, a few number of the lay faithful and liturgical ministers.
Holy oils will be distributed after the celebration
THE EVENING OF THE LAST SUPPER
The washing of the feet, which is already optional, maybe omitted. However, if the circumstances allow, the washing of the feet maybe done only to a less than twelve representatives of the community.
The usual procession with the Blessed Sacrament to a place of repose maybe be omitted and the Blessed Sacrament should be kept in the tabernacle, as usual. However, if the circumstances allow, the procession of the Blessed Sacrament to a place of repose maybe done with a limited number of ministers. There is no need of pall bearers. The minister who holds the cross and two candles lead the procession. To be followed by incense bearer and the priest holding the Blessed Sacrament. After the reposition, a select number of the faithful may remain for an hour of prayer and adoration. After which, the church will be closed.
After the celebration, in churches when there is no solemn transfer of the Blessed Sacrament, the Blessed Sacrament maybe processioned (in a vehicle) within the vicinity of the parish. The faithful are encouraged to set an altar outside their home with lighted candles in the route of the procession.
There will be no visita iglesia.
On this day the faculty to celebrate Mass in a suitable place without the presence of the people, is exceptionally granted to all priests.
Reflections on the Seven Last Words of our Lord will be made available to the faithful through social media and radio.
Depending on the circumstances and the discretion of the priest, communal Way of the Cross maybe celebrated. However, basic health protocols must be observed.
During the celebration of the Passion of the Lord, special intention in the General Intercessions for the sick, the dead and for those who feel lost or dismayed will be sent to the parishes for mandated use.
For the adoration of the cross, only the celebrant kisses the cross. After which, all the faithful present kneel while the “Reproaches” or a suitable hymn is sung as a common gesture of adoration.
Depending on the discretion of the priest, after the celebration, wearing a red cope or a red stole over a surplice and cassock or alb, he rides a vehicle as he carries a Crucifix and goes to the nearby streets of the parish church or he may go around the usual route of the Good Friday procession carrying the Crucifix. The faithful in the area where the procession will pass are requested to set an altar outside their homes with lighted candles but they should be instructed not to go out but may only open their windows. Recorded songs proper for the Veneration of the Cross maybe played during the procession.
There will be no procession of pasos.
This maybe celebrated at 7 p.m. onwards depending on the curfew implemented by the LGU.
The Blessing of the Fire and Preparation of the Candle can be celebrated within the building of the church or at the entrance of the main door while the people are already in their places inside the church. The full rite must be followed.
The Baptismal liturgy can be done either to adults or children but must be limited in number.
The blessing of water and the “Renewal of Baptismal Promises” are retained.
After the Mass, the blessing of seeds, things and vehicles maybe done. However, basic health protocols must be properly observed.
The ‘encuentro’ is part of our liturgical tradition in the celebration of Easter Sunday. However, mindful of the present situation and in obedience to the order of the civil and health authorities, it is suggested to have the procession of the images of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Resurrected Christ. These images are placed in the vehicle to be processioned around the vicinity of the parish church or in the traditional route of the procession of ‘encuentro.’ A recorded Resplendor and Regina Caeli are played repeatedly during the procession. This can be done after the curfew set by the respective LGU.
For those who cannot attend the Holy Week and Easter Triduum celebrations in the church, the schedule of the on-line transmission should be made known to the faithful. It must be a live telematic broadcasting and not recorded.
Lastly, the new note from the Congregation will hopefully make help to be more docile in embracing the changes in our liturgical celebrations and discerning in its implementation. “We are aware that the decisions taken haven not always been easy for pastors or the lay faithful to accept. However, we know that they were taken with a view to ensuring that the sacred mysteries be celebrated in the most effective way possible for our communities, while respecting the common good and public health.”