We Do Not Intend to Offer Any Further Guidelines for the Holy Week Celebrations

Yesterday the Congregation for Divine Worship published a Note on the liturgies for Holy Week 2023.

This Note does not contain any great innovations, but in a refreshing way leaves matters in the hands of the bishops’ conferences.  The key section says:

In view of the ongoing slowdown of the pandemic, albeit at different rates in individual countries, we do not intend to offer any further guidelines for the Holy Week celebrations. The experience that the Episcopal Conferences have gained in recent years is certainly sufficient to deal with the various situations in the most appropriate ways, always taking care to observe the ritual norms contained in the liturgical books.

Then it calls for prayer for the situation in Ukraine. They also remind the bishops of their authority to add a special intention to the solemn intercessions on Good Friday.  Readers might like to reread the prayer from Austria that Liborius Lumma posted a few days ago.

Below is the full text of the Note:

NOTE TO BISHOPS AND EPISCOPAL CONFERENCES ON THE CELEBRATION OF HOLY WEEK 2022

During the Easter festivities of past years, marked by the difficult situation of the pandemic, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments offered guidelines to help Bishops in their task of assessing concrete situations and providing for the spiritual good of pastors and faithful in their celebration of Holy Week, the centre of the entire liturgical year.

In view of the ongoing slowdown of the pandemic, albeit at different rates in individual countries, we do not intend to offer any further guidelines for the Holy Week celebrations. The experience that the Episcopal Conferences have gained in recent years is certainly sufficient to deal with the various situations in the most appropriate ways, always taking care to observe the ritual norms contained in the liturgical books.

We would therefore like to urge everyone to be prudent and avoid actions and behaviour that could potentially be a risk. Every assessment and decision should always be made in agreement with the Episcopal Conference, which will take into due consideration the regulations that the competent civil authorities of the various countries adopt.

In recent days the Holy Father has repeatedly invited us to pray, asking God for the gift of peace for Ukraine, so that this “repugnant war” may come to an end. Together with Ukraine we would also like to recall all the other conflicts, which are unfortunately always numerous, in many countries of the world, a situation that Pope Francis has described as a piecemealthird world war. In the Celebration of the Passion of the Lord on Good Friday, the liturgy invites us to raise our petitions to God for the Church and for the whole world. In the Solemn Intercessions we will invoke the Lord for those in public office (prayer IX) that our God and Lord may direct their minds and hearts according to his will for the true peace and freedom of all, and for those in tribulation (prayer X) that all may rejoice, because in their hour of need your mercy was at hand. Let us now make these prayers our own for all our brothers and sisters who are experiencing the horror of war, particularly in Ukraine.

We would point out that “in a situation of grave public need, the Diocesan Bishop may permit or order the addition of a special intention” (Missale Romanum, editio typica tertia, p. 314, n. 13).

Let the celebration of Easter bring to all peoples the hope that comes solely from the resurrection of the Lord

From the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, 25 March 2022, Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord.

✠ Arthur Roche

Prefect

✠ Vittorio Francesco Viola, O.F.M.

Archbishop Secretary

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