It was a matter of time and the Episcopal Conference of Costa Rica confirmed it this week: The Catholic Church will not carry out processions during Easter Holy Week for the second year in a row due to the Coronavirus Pandemic. This means that acts of collective worship and all Christian celebrations that make use of public roads such as processions and the Via Crucis are suspended.
These are the guidelines for the celebrations scheduled for Easter Holy Week 2021, between March 28th and April 3rd:
Palm Sunday (March 28th)
To commemorate the Lord’s entry into Jerusalem, the faithful will stand in their places and from there they will participate in the rites that the priest and his assistants will perform at the entrance of the church.
Monday, Tuesday, Holy Wednesday (March 29th, 30th, 31st)
The bishops asked the priests to fully comply with the sanitary guidelines while performing the Sacrament of Reconciliation, in order to “safeguard the personal integrity of the confessor and penitents.” The spaces for confessions will be scheduled and organized by each parish.
Holy Thursday (April 1st)
This day all priests may only celebrate one “Mass of the Lord’s Supper”. In addition, the gesture of the washing of the feet and the transfer of the Blessed Sacrament to the “Monument” will be omitted. The Mass will have the same usual structure of any Eucharistic celebration.
Good Friday (April 2nd)
The “Celebration of the Lord’s Passion” will only take place once in each parish. “The prostration with which said liturgy begins, will be carried out only in the case of guaranteeing the health measures that ensures the biosafety of the priest and other assistants, otherwise, it will be enough for the priest to remain on his knees,” says the lineament. Also, during the universal prayer of the faithful, the petition “in times of Pandemic”, which was introduced the previous year, will be added again.
Holy Saturday (April 3rd)
The Episcopal Conference requested that the celebrations be held “a little earlier”, to ensure that the faithful can be at home before the restriction time begins. In March, the sanitary vehicle restriction begins at 11 p.m.
“The Easter Vigil, mother of all vigils, must be scheduled one hour later than any other liturgical celebration of the year. It would not have to be done in any haste of time, but under current conditions, we recommend that times be weighed well when choosing the number of readings and when deciding whether it is appropriate to celebrate the sacrament of Baptism”, adds the document.