AST YEAR, as surely everyone recalls, the celebration of Holy Week was subject to adaptations as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The variations from standard practice were enumerated in two decrees published by the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments (CDW). Recently, it was announced by the CDW that last year’s guidance may be applied again this year, although it leaves ample leeway for local bishops to make decisions based on the particular circumstances of their territory. Some areas, for example, would presumably be able to celebrate Holy Week with fewer adaptations this year, while ongoing lockdowns and health concerns might prevent a more normalized celebration in other places.
The full text of this recent announcement is available for download. Given in several languages, the English text appears on pp. 5-6.
* PDF Download • CDW Guidance for Holy Week 2021
One portion of this communication is particularly interesting, and so it is reproduced here:
The use of social media has greatly aided pastors in offering support and closeness to their communities during the pandemic. Alongside these positive results, problematic aspects were also observed. For the celebration of Holy Week, it is suggested that media coverage of the celebrations presided over by the Bishop be facilitated and favoured, encouraging the faithful who are unable to attend their own church to follow the diocesan celebrations as a sign of unity.
Links to the two decrees published last year are available in this post. These may be important to review as dioceses determine how the Holy Week liturgies will be celebrated in the year of Our Lord 2021.
Finally, it may also be worth revisiting another document published this past year by the CDW, namely Cardinal Sarah’s heartfelt letter, Let us return to the Eucharist with joy! A link to the full text is available here.