By Robin Gomes
There is no exception to the schedule of Pope Francis regarding restrictions as demanded by measures against the coronavirus pandemic. So are the liturgical celebrations that he will preside over during Holy Week, without the presence of the faithful.
The Holy Week, which is the culmination of the 40-day Lenten period, is the most solemn period for Christians worldwide, who celebrate the solemn mysteries of Christ’s passion, death and resurrection.
"Following the extraordinary situation that has arisen, due to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, and taking into account the provisions of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, through a Decree dated 25 March 2020, an update was needed regarding the upcoming liturgical celebrations presided over by the Holy Father Pope Francis, with regard to the calendar and participation,” said a statement on Friday released by Monsignor Guido Marini, the Master of the Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff.
The communique states that Pope Francis will celebrate all of the Holy Week Rites in St. Peter's Basilica, starting with Palm Sunday at 11.00 am, 5 April.
As for the Triduum, or the 3 days preceding Easter, the Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper will begin at 6:00 pm on April 9.
The following day, Good Friday, he will preside over the celebration of the Lord’s Passion at 6pm. However, that night, the Stations of the Cross will not be held at the traditional site of the Colosseum, but in front of St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican at 9:00 pm.
Likewise, the Easter Vigil Mass will be held in the Vatican Basilica at 9:00 pm on 11 April. The following day, the Holy Father will celebrate Easter Sunday Mass in the basilica and conclude with the “Urbi et Orbi” message and blessing.
(All timings are in Rome time - GMT+2)