Vatican suggests Easter can be celebrated in September

Vatican City, Mar 20 (efe-epa).- The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments Friday issued advice for Catholics celebrating Easter and advised processions be delayed because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Vatican institution, said in the statement that processions and other devotions of popular piety should be postponed until later in the year, suggesting September 14 and 15.

Any processions already suspended in the coming Holy Week could be celebrated on those dates, if the bishop approves.

It said the chrism mass can be postponed but not the rest of the acts of Holy Week.

“Easter is the heart of the entire liturgical year and is not simply one feast among others,” the guidelines stated, adding that the Easter Triduum “cannot be transferred to another time”.

“The faithful should be informed of the times of the celebration so that they can prayerfully unite themselves in their homes,” it said and suggested events be broadcast on live television or over the internet.

Priests can celebrate a mass on Holy Thursday without the public but feet washing should not be carried out, according to the advice.

They were also urged to hold services on Good Friday and to hold universal prayers including a devotion for the sick, the dead and anyone feeling lost or bereaved.

The Vigil mass, which is celebrated on Saturday, and procession which normally takes place after lighting candles should be omitted.

It has been reported that Holy Week celebrations will be carried out without any faithful in attendance in the Vatican, although it has not yet been announced how Pope Francis will mark them.

The coronavirus pandemic emerged in Wuhan, the capital city of the Chinese province of Hubei, in December and has since spread around the world with hotspots in Italy, Iran and Spain.

Covid-19 has infected more than 245,000 people internationally, including at least 86,000 who have recovered, and killed more than 10,000.

More than 3,400 people have died in Italy, surpassing the death toll in China, 3,253, while at least 833 people have died in Spain, according to data provided by John Hopkins University. EFE-EPA


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