Holy week behind closed doors. The security measures decided by the Conte government to combat the pandemic from Covid-19 have imposed that Easter rites also take place without the presence of the faithful. The churches have been closed to the public for weeks and, unfortunately, this restriction must also be maintained for the rites of Holy Week that begin on Palm Sunday.
Therefore Easter, the heart of the liturgical year for the Catholic Church, because of Coronavirus must necessarily do without believers, always numerous in the celebrations of this intense and heartfelt week.
The rites of Holy Week live on television
The masses have been broadcast on television stations and live streaming on the web for weeks. For Easter celebrations, the TV2000 broadcaster in collaboration with Vatican Media, has established a special schedule. Palm Sunday mass will be broadcast at 11am; at the end there will be the recitation of the Angelus. Holy Thursday mass in Coena Domini will be broadcast at 6 pm. The celebration of the Passion of Jesus can be followed on Good Friday at 6 pm.
While the Via Crucis on the churchyard of St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican will be held at 9 pm. The Easter Vigil will take place on Holy Saturday at 9 pm, always on live television from the Vatican basilica. On Sunday at 11am the Pope will celebrate Easter Mass and the “Urbi et Orbi” blessing. On Easter Monday, at noon, the Pope will recite the Regina Coeli prayer.
Home: place of prayers
The Italian Episcopal Conference in a special aid for families urges to make our homes “a place of prayer and celebration”. We also suggest the use of a crucifix and a lamp. For Palm Sunday, olive branches would also be appropriate. Specifically, the prayer scheme provides for an introduction, the recitation of some Psalms and then the proclamation of the Gospel of Matthew which speaks of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem.
At the end a prayer with several voices and the final invocation of the “blessing of the Father”. In the aid prepared by the CEI there is also a meditation to be read after the Gospel. The Pope, through Catholic media, also spread a message for Holy Week in which the Church commemorates the passion, death and resurrection of Christ.