Liturgical Update: Holy Week, Easter and Beyond
On March 10, 2021, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia provided an update on liturgical directives. These provided information about Palm Sunday, Holy Week, the Easter Season and beyond. I will summarize key points below. A link to the entire document is here.
The intent is three-fold: to follow these directives to ensure the comfort and safety of worshipers; to reduce/restrict limitations that are neither necessary nor provide any pastoral benefit; to enhance the beauty and solemnity of the sacred liturgy.
St. Monica will continue to livestream daily and weekend Masses. We are trying to offer special aesthetic enhancements at the Saturday 5:00 PM Mass and the Sunday 9:30 am Mass.
The faithful continue to be dispensed from the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation. This is in effect until further notice. Nevertheless, the faithful, especially those in good health, are strongly encouraged to attend Mass in person. This also includes other sacraments, such as the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
St. Monica continues to follow Covid guidelines provided by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the Centers for Disease Control. Specifically this includes:
- Cleaning high-touch surfaces after every Mass.
- Availability of hand sanitation.
- Recommended capacity limit for the St. Monica church building (125 people – Plenty of room. Please come!) .
- Pews arranged for social distances
- Wearing of face covering/masks by worshipers.
- During the distribution of Communion, priests and Extraordinary Ministers of Communion will continue to wear face covering/masks at St. Monica Parish.
- Suspension of the Sign of Peace
- The distribution of the Precious Blood and the procession with the Gifts during the Offertory continues to be omitted.
SPECIFIC LITURGICAL POINTS:
Celebration of Mass:
- Liturgical Ministers in good health should be exercising their ministries.
- It is now possible to sing all parts of the Mass. The use of cantors and instrumentalists continues.
- Quartets and choirs, maintaining social distance, are permitted.
- In addition to the organ, keyboard and string instruments, brass, and woodwind instruments may be used at this point, when space is available for social distancing and ventilation
- Hymnals and worship aids may be used at this point.
Sacrament of Reconciliation:
- Confessions are held in the lobby of the Parish Center three times each week. Times are 3:45-4:30 pm Saturday. 6:30-7:30 pm Monday. 6:00-7:00 am Tuesday.
- The faithful, who desire to celebrate the Sacrament, but are inhibited for one reason or another, may receive the spiritual benefit of “perfect contrition for sins.”This is a gift of special indulgence given at this time. A description of perfect contrition is provided from the Catechism here:
Where the individual faithful find themselves in the painful impossibility of receiving sacramental absolution, it should be remembered that perfect contrition, coming from the love of God, beloved above all things, expressed by a sincere request for forgiveness (that which the penitent is at present able to express) and accompanied by votum confessionis, that is, by the firm resolution to have recourse, as soon as possible, to sacramental confession, obtains forgiveness of sins, even mortal ones (cf. CCC, no. 1452)
PALM SUNDAY AND HOLY WEEK
- Palm Sunday: Palms will be distributed this year before Mass.
- Holy Thursday: The Washing of the Feet will be omitted.
- Good Friday: The veneration of the cross will take place with a genuflection or a bow. Touching or kissing the cross this year at St. Monica is discouraged.
- Vigil of Easter/Easter Sunday: Holy Water will be restored to the fonts with a plan for regular cleaning beginning after the Vigil of Easter.