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Holy Week processions return

After two years in which Palm Sunday and Stations of the Cross processions were halted because of the Covid-19 pandemic, these displays of devotion will return with the relaxation of Public Health regulations.

On March 7, the time limit on public worship and the number of persons allowed to gather were removed. Masks, however, remain mandatory in public spaces.

In response to these developments, the Archdiocesan Health Safety and Environment Team has issued updated guidelines for the Observance of Holy Week 2022. CLICK HERE FOR OFFICIAL STATEMENT

Last year, coordinated mass gatherings of worshippers for the procession was not allowed so the Stations were prayed inside churches with social distancing implemented. Now the Stations of the Cross can be done outside with “any number of worshippers”. The bulletin stated, “On Good Friday the Stations of the Cross pilgrimage may be held on the streets.”

On Palm Sunday (April 10), processions on the public road may resume. Parishes were advised to liaise with local authorities when planning to ensure the physical safety of participants. “Those in attendance must use suitable coverings for their nose and mouth, both outdoors and when inside the church”, the bulletin stated. Returning to church after the procession, attendees will be encouraged to wash or sanitise their hands. Guidelines for this observance also apply to Good Friday processions.


On April 14, the Maundy Thursday (Holy Thursday) ritual of the washing of the feet is optional and at the discretion of the parish priest. The recommendations from last year remain i.e.: the smallest number of assistants be involved to perform the rite safely, gloves must be worn, kissing of the penitent’s feet is not allowed and a new or unused towel to dry the feet of each penitent.

Last year’s protocol for the veneration of the cross on Good Friday (April 15) has been retained. “Worshippers may venerate the Cross with a bow or genuflection; There is to be no kissing or touching of the statue or Cross.” There is no restriction on the number of lectors or actors for the re-enactment and/or reading of the Passion of Christ on Good Friday. Cantors can move from the choir area and stand at the lectern to lead the congregation in song.

The traditional Gloria Saturday (April 16) rite of the “blazing fire” (rogus ardens) outside the church in which the congregation gathers to experience the flames dispelling the darkness will follow the 2021 format.

The Committee advised that during the pandemic, priests who wish to do the rite use shorter versions with the congregation remaining in their pews while the priest and a limited number of assistants recite the prayers, bless the fire and light the Paschal Candle before re-entering the building.

For the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults at the Easter Vigil, the anointing of candidates with chrism will be done with cotton wool or Q-Tip dipped in the oil. “This practice is under continual review and will be addressed in future bulletins,” the Bulletin stated.

The rite was not done at last year’s Easter Vigil due to the time limit on public worship, and number of attendees at Masses.