Guidelines for Lent and Holy Week 2022
“Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?” Faith begins when we realize we are in need of salvation. We are not self-sufficient; by ourselves we flounder: we need the Lord, like ancient navigators needed the stars. Let us invite Jesus into the boats of our lives. Let us hand over our fears to him so that he can conquer them. Like the disciples, we will experience that with him on board there will be no shipwreck. Because this is God’s strength: turning to the good everything that happens to us, even the bad things. He brings serenity into our storms, because with God life never dies.
The Lord asks us and, in the midst of our tempest, invites us to reawaken and put into practice that solidarity and hope capable of giving strength, support and meaning to these hours when everything seems to be floundering. The Lord awakens so as to reawaken and revive our Easter faith. We have an anchor: by his cross we have been saved. We have a rudder: by his cross we have been redeemed. We have a hope: by his cross we have been healed and embraced so that nothing and no one can separate us from his redeeming love. In the midst of isolation when we are suffering from a lack of tenderness and chances to meet up, and we experience the loss of so many things, let us once again listen to the proclamation that saves us: he is risen and is living by our side. The Lord asks us from his cross to rediscover the life that awaits us, to look towards those who look to us, to strengthen, recognize and foster the grace that lives within us. Let us not quench the wavering flame (cf. Is 42:3) that never falters, and let us allow hope to be rekindled. (Pope Francis, March 27, 2020)
This present instruction is to give directions to the important celebrations of the liturgical, namely the Lenten season and the Paschal Triduum. For the past almost two years the celebrations of the Holy Week and Paschal Triduum were modified to the essentials due to the lockdowns declared by the civil authorities. We have issued corresponding guidelines that have considered the absence of our faithful in those celebrations.
All these instructions on the liturgical celebrations of the Church during this time of world crisis should help us find the balance between the worthy celebrations of the Paschal Triduum, the heart of our Christian faith and life, and the call of our health and civil authorities to help stem the rapid transmission of the virus. These instructions are updated both from the universal Church and from us here in the CBCP. Currently, we are witnessing the gradual but drastic reduction of number of Covid cases. The IATF has put several areas of the country into “Alert Level 2”, that allows greater number of people in public gathering but with adherence to minimum health protocols. It is in this light that we are issuing these guidelines for Ash Wednesday, Lenten Season, Holy Week and Paschal Triduum celebrations this year.
We are offering all the Bishops and Diocesan Administrators updated guidelines for the celebrations of the Holy Week and the Paschal Triduum:
1. We abide by the stringent policy of the Government on “Social Distancing” and the use of face masks during church services. We continue to sanitize our churches every after liturgical celebrations and provide alcohol for the sanitation of our faithful.
2. In the event that religious processions will be allowed:
a. Coordination with local government and Barangay officials is needed.
b. We limit the route of the processions through roads or streets that will allow greater possibility for social distancing.
c. Procession marshals are necessary to maintain the safe distance of the participants of the processions.
d. It is not recommended to use “carosas” or “andas” which need to be carried by people because this will not ensure social distancing of those who carry these flatforms. It is safer to put the images on a motor vehicle instead of those carried by people. We take great care not to give an opportunity for our faithful to congregate outside their homes. These suggestions should be omitted where strict lockdown is enforced.
3. The schedule of the online transmission of these celebrations should be made known to our faithful so they can follow spiritually, these celebrations. Please be reminded that these need to be LIVE telematic broadcasting not recorded.
4. Popular devotions like the “Pabasa” may be organized considering the compliance with health protocols.
5. Ash Wednesday:
a. The formula for the imposition of ashes “Repent, and believe in the Gospel,” or “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return” is said only once “applying it to all in general.”
b. We will revert to the imposition of ashes on the forehead of the faithful.
c. The sprinkling of ashes on the crown will remain an option. We have been reminded last year that this option is an “opportunity to catechize our people on both the penitential and baptismal characters of the Lenten season. In Baptism, we have been anointed on the crown of the head. The ashes to be smeared on the crown signify our repentance from sin, which has marred the grace of Baptism.”
d. For parishes having difficulty to secure old palm branches blessed during the celebration of Palm Sunday last year, dried leaves of plants or trees can be burned for this year’s celebration of Ash Wednesday.
e. We anticipate a large number of people who will come to church for the imposition of ashes. Let us ensure that there are enough ministers and ashes as well as the compliance to health protocols.
6. Palm Sunday:
a. “The Commemoration of the Lord’s Entrance into Jerusalem is to be celebrated within the church, the sacred building.” (Decree, March 25, 2020).
b. It is recommended that we use the “Second Form: The Solemn Entrance” but in a modified way. Since the blessing of the Palm branches is in this form, it may be used at the Entrance rite when the presider is already in the sanctuary. The faithful must be seated already or in their places. The priest may also begin the celebration at the door of the church or the church patio. The faithful however will remain in their places. The priest with some ministers will represent the assembly in the act of procession.
c. When the faithful follow this celebration through online streaming, the blessing of their Palms or any leaf branches is imparted by the Scriptural reading and the prayer of blessing during the celebration. There is no need for holy water for the blessing of their palm branches.
d. For the proclamation of the Passion Narrative, we follow the traditional way, different parts or characters are assigned to different lectors and the priestpresider takes the part of Jesus, each given the proper roles of the characters in the Gospel narration.
7. The Chrism Mass:
a. After thorough assessment of the situation of the diocese in the face of the threat of Covid, the diocese may return to the traditional day of its celebration on Holy Thursday, or on the day set by the bishop that will enable greater participation of the clergy and the faithful.
b. Since social distancing will reduce the number of our faithful in attendance, the diocese may set a limit of number of faithful from each parish to participate in attendance at the celebration itself.
8. The Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper:
a. The celebration follows the instructions given to us in the Missal. The presentation of the Holy Oils can be done here.
b. A simplified form of the washing of the feet may be done during this celebration. The number of the persons whose feet are to be washed need not be 12. There can be less than 12 but not more than twelve.
c. The altar of repose may be set outside the church if the Church is small and will not be able to accommodate many people for the “Visita Iglesia”. Careful organization of the conduct of the “Visita Iglesia” will depend so much on the planning and preparation of the parish.
9. Good Friday:
a. The liturgy is the usual Liturgy of the Friday of the Passion of the Lord found in the Roman Missal.
b. The Presider alone will do the kissing in the veneration of the cross. The faithful will do the veneration of the cross by making a genuflection or making a profound bow to the Cross. Marshalls shall be stationed near the cross so as to prevent the faithful from kissing or touching the Cross.
c. A special intention for the Covid-19 victims, doctors and nurses, health workers, the front-liners and those who have died may be added to the Prayers of the Faithful. An intention may also be added for the forth coming National and Local elections.
d. For the Proclamation of the Passion Narrative, please refer to number 6, d.
10. Easter Vigil:
a. This is to be celebrated only in Cathedral and parish churches. Special permission is to be given by the Ordinary of the place for those which will be celebrated in chapels and oratories.
b. Since the curfew hours have been lifted, the time of the celebration is set as the Roman Missal requires, after sunset.
c. The “Lucernarium” is done within the building of the Church. The priest may also begin the celebration at the door of the church or the church patio. The faithful however will remain in their places. The priest with some ministers will represent the assembly in the act of procession.
d. The Baptismal liturgy during this time can be done either to adults or children.
e. We retain the blessing of water and the “Renewal of Baptismal Promises”.
f. In place of the “Salubong”, a motorcade of the statue of the “Risen Lord” may be brought around the parish, again in strict coordination with the Barangay officials so as to implement social distancing.
11. The Sacrament of Reconciliation:
a. We remind our clergy that we make available the sacrament of Reconciliation and Penance throughout the season of Lent. Our faithful should be informed of the days and the time for Confessions. This will prevent them from coming to the sacrament in great numbers during the Holy Week. We also urge our priests to follow the guidelines we issued for Confessions in the time of the Pandemic.
b. The faithful should be instructed on the issue of Confession when no priest is available during this time. Pope Francis has made this clarification as he echoes here the Catechism of the Catholic Church: “I know that many of you go to confession before Easter… Many will say to me: ‘But Father…I can’t leave the house and I want to make my peace with the Lord. I want Him to embrace me… How can I do that unless I find a priest?’. Do what the catechism says. It’s very clear. If you don’t find a priest to go to confession, speak to God. He’s your Father. Tell Him the truth: ‘Lord. I did this and this and this. Pardon me.’ Ask His forgiveness with all your heart with an act of contrition, and promise Him, ‘afterward I will go to confession.’ You will return to God’s grace immediately. You yourself can draw near, as the catechism teaches us, to God’s forgiveness, without having a priest at hand.” (Homily, Pope Francis, March 20, 2020).
12. The Episcopal Commission on Liturgy is preparing the modified Paschal Triduum Celebrations, to guide the clergy and our Christian Communities. We will send you these in the coming days.
13. All these instructions are implemented only during this extraordinary period of the Quarantine due to Covid-19.Given this 22nd of February, Feast of the Chair of St. Peter, 2022.
MOST REV. VICTOR B. BENDICO, D.D.
Chairman, CBCP Episcopal Commission on Liturgy
Bishop of Baguio
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