We all know, without doubt, that the Holy Week Liturgies are very important celebrations of our faith. The Mass of the Paschal Meal on Holy Thursday, Liturgy of the Holy Cross on Good Friday, the Liturgy of the Easter Vigil together with the Mass on Holy Saturday and the Mass on Easter Sunday are memorable and meaningful celebrations of our salvation. Since the Holy Week celebrations are important for us, Bishop William Callahan has permitted to have 50% of the seating capacity in the Church. Hence, I invite you to come with your family members and participate in the celebrations of saving events. Let us not forget to observe social distance and to wear mask, in order to help one another from being infected by virus.
Based on the liturgical guidelines given by the Sacred Congregation in Rome, Bishop Callahan has sent us the following guidelines to be observed in all the Parishes of La Crosse Diocese. I am bringing these, in advance, to your knowledge:
As you enter the Church, the Ushers will distribute the Palms to each one of you. The priest will bless the palms from the altar; following the blessing the priest and the Deacon will go through the aisles and will sprinkle Holy Water over the people and the palms. The usual procession will not take place.
Holy Thursday, Evening Mass of the Last Supper:
The washing of the feet is omitted. In its place, another suitable option is proposed by Bishop Callahan to practice the commandment of love: The Parishioners may bring food for the poor people and drop them in the basket, as they enter the Church. This will be taken to be distributed to the poor and the homeless.
The solemn procession to the other Altar at the end of the Mass with processional torches and incense will not take place. Instead, the Most Holy Sacrament will be taken directly to the other Altar. Then the silent Adoration will take place till 12:00 midnight.
Good Friday, Liturgy of Holy Cross:
The kissing of the Cross by the people is omitted. Instead, it will be held this way: The people will come in procession; they either genuflect or bow before the Cross without touching it.
These are some of the changes that will take place this year’s Holy Week liturgy. I look forward to seeing you come in good number and participate in the Saving celebrations of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
I wish you a grace-filled Holy Week
Fr. Arul Joseph V.