TO: HIS EXCELLENCY AND THE REVEREND MEMBERS OF THE CLERGY OF THE ARCHDIOCESE OF SAN FERNANDO, PAMPANGA
RE: Archdiocesan liturgical directives:
A.THE PREPARATORY SEASON OF LENT
B. THE CELEBRATION OF HOLY WEEK AND EASTER 2021 IN TIME OF COVID-19 PANDEMIC
Greetings of Grace and Peace!
Please find attached herewith our archdiocesan liturgical directive to be followed for the Preparatory Season of Lent and the Celebration of Holy Week and Easter in time of Covid-19 pandemic. These archdiocesan liturgical guidelines were modified according to the Guidelines that the Episcopal Commission on Liturgy (ECL) of the CBCP and the Congregation of Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments have issued in the resumption of the celebration of Holy Masses with limited number of our faithful due to the pandemic.
We are all enjoined to be guided accordingly by these archdiocesan liturgical guidelines. Thank you for the kind attention. Let us continuously pray the Oratio Imperata to our Santo Cristo del Perdon y Caridad through the intercession of our Virgen de los Remedios, ing Indu ning Kapaldanan! Praying with you for the safety and protection of all the faithful, I remain
One with you as a servant to the servants of the Gospel,
(Sgd.) ✠ Florentino G. Lavarias, D.D.
Archbishop of San Fernando
(Sgd.) Rev. Fr. Danny Q. Nacpil
05 March 2021
THE PREPARATORY SEASON OF LENT
A. VIA CRUCIS, STATIONS OF THE CROSS
- The Via Crucis, Stations of the cross is a particularly apt pious exercise for Lent.
- “Of all the pious exercises connected with the veneration of the Cross, none is more popular among the faithful than the Via Crucis. Through this pious exercises, the faithful movingly follow the final earthly journey of Christ: from the Mount of Olives, . . . to Calvary where he was crucified between two thieves (cf. LK 23,33), to the garden where he was placed in freshly hewn tomb (John; 40-42).
- “In the Via Crucis, various strands of Christian piety coalesce : the idea of life being journey or pilgrimage; as a passage from earthly exile to our true home in heaven ; the deep desire to be confirmed to the Passion of Christ; the demands of following Christ, which imply to his disciples must follow behind the Master, daily carrying their own crosses (cf. LK 9,23) (DPPL, no. 133).
- “The Via Crucis is a pious devotion connected with the Passion of Christ; it should conclude, however, in such fashion as to leave the faithful with a sense of expectation of the resurrection in faith and hope; following the example of the Via Crucis in Jerusalem which ends with a station at the Anastasis, the celebration could end with a commemoration of the Lord’s resurrection.” (DPPL, no.134)
- No communal and processional stations of the cross during the pandemic.
Instead parishes are encourage to hold live stream stations of the cross weekly, v.g. every Friday.
B. READING OF THE PASSION
1. No pamamasang pasyun (pabasa), puni, senakulo (passion plays), penitensya/magdarame, etc. during the pandemic.
2.However, during the Lent, especially on Wednesdays and Fridays, love for our crucified Saviour should move the Christian and the family (domestic church) to read the account of the Lord’s Passion. Such reading which is significant,
attracts the attention of the faithful because of its content and because of its narrative form,
- and inspires true devotion;
- repentance for sins, since the faithful see that Christ died for the sins of the entire human race, including their own;
- compassion and solidarity for their innocent who was unjustly condemned;
- gratitude for the infinite love of Jesus for all the brethren, which was shown by Jesus, the first-born Son, in his Passion;
- commitment to imitating his example of, patience, mercy, the forgiveness of offenses, abandonment to the Father, which Jesus did willingly and efficaciously in his Passion. (cf. DPP, no. 130).
3. Parishes are encouraged to hold live-stream reading of the account of the Lord’s Passion.
4. “The Gospel narrative on can be “dramatized” giving the various parts of the narrative to different persons, or by interspersing it with hymns or moments of silent reflection.” (DPPL, no. 130).
C. PENITENTIAL CELEBRATIONS DURING LENT
- Lent is the principal time of penance both for individual Christians and for the whole church. It is therefore desirable to prepare the Christian community for a fuller sharing in the paschal mystery by penitential celebrations during Lent. (SC, no.109, Paul VI, Const. Paenitemini, no. IX.)
- Penitential services are gatherings of the people of God to hear God’s word as an invitation to conversion and renewal of life and as the message of our liberation from sin through Christ’s death and resurrection. SCDF, Pastoral Norms for General Absolution, Norm X.)
- It is desirable to arrange them especially for these purposes:
- to foster the spirit of penance within the Christian Community;
- to help the faithful to prepare for individual confession that can be made later at a convenient time;
- to help children gradually form their consciences about sin in human life and about freedom from sin through Christ;
- The structure of these services is the same as that usually followed in celebrations of the word of God (cf. Instr. Inter Oec, nos. 37-39) and given in the Rite for Reconciliation of Several Penitents.
- Text from the Lectionary and Sacramentary may be used in these penitential celebrations; the penitential nature of the Liturgy of the Word in the Masses for Lent should be considered.
- Such penitential services could take different forms. One form emphasizes penance as strengthening or restoring baptismal grace (Lent as baptismal), another form shows penance as a preparation for a fuller sharing in the Easter Mystery of Christ and his Church (Lent as penitential).
- The faithful must be reminded of the difference between Penitential Services and Sacramental Confession and Absolution (cf CDF., Normae pastoralis circa absolutionem sacramentalem generali modo impertiendam, no. X) given their benefit and importance.
- During this pandemic, parishes, therefore, are encouraged to hold live-stream penitential services within the season of Lent.
Guidelines for the Sacrament of Reconciliation During the Time of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
- The health and safety Protocols enumerated in the Guidelines for the Resumption of the Public Masses by the CBCP, are also applicable in celebrating the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
- Physical distancing must be observed at all times without compromising the seal of confession. Distancing guidelines also apply when individuals are waiting for their turn to approach the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
- Individuals who fall in the vulnerable category, persons 65+ and with compromised health conditions may consider arranging with the priest an alternative time to approach the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
- It is imperative that priest and penitent wear a mask and face shield at all times, while waiting to approach the sacrament and during the actual confession.
- Priests are to accommodate the need of a penitent to receive the sacrament without compromising both their health and safety.
Pastors are asked to provide regularly scheduled hours for confession. Consider morning hours for vulnerable populations.
Place of Confession
- Confessionals that do not accommodate physical distancing and without proper ventilation should not be used and an alternative location must be arranged to administer the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
- The place of confession must be able to preserve the seal of confession and maintain physical distancing.
- Provisions should be made for those who wish to make an anonymous confession.
- Pastors are to establish proper sanitizing procedures when administering the sacrament before, in between confessions, and after confessions are concluded.
- Precautions must be taken to limit the number of people congregating in a single
- location such as a church or chapel. During this pandemic, parishes are discouraged from holding Kumpisalang Balen.
- When administering the sacrament at a hospital or similar facilities and if the priest is permitted entry, he must diligently follow the Diocesan protocols that have been put in place.
- The use of cell phones and other technologies are not permitted even if the penitent is in close visual proximity.
- Refrain from administering the sacrament when exhibiting any of the symptoms of a COVID-19 Virus infection. Priests 60+ must prudently take necessary precautions for health and safety.
- Keep the administration of the sacrament as brief as possible.
- Pastors are to provide instructions regarding the administration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation in their particular parish. Along with offering regularly scheduled times for confession, priests may present the option to make an appointment for confession in order to accommodate special circumstances due to health or other limitations. Penitents needing counseling in addition to receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation should be offered the option of arranging an appointment in a timely manner with the priest.
Penitents are to wear masks before and face shield, during, and after confessions. They should have their temperature checked before going to confession. They should be provided the means to properly sanitize themselves before and after confession.
- The faithful should be informed of the days and the time of confessions throughout the season of Lent. They should be encouraged to go to confession within the Season of Lent. This will prevent them from coming to the sacrament in great numbers during the last days of Lent. As much as possible, there should be no more confessions especially the Holy Week, especially during the Easter Triduum.
- The faithful should be instructed on the issue of Confession when no priest is available during the time of pandemic. Pope Francis has made this clarification as he echoes here the Catechism of the Catholic Church: “I know that many of you go to confession before Easter… Many will say to me: ‘But Father…I can’t leave the house and I want to make my peace with the Lord. I want Him to embrace me… How can I do that unless I find a priest?’. Do what the catechism says. It’s very clear. If you don’t find a priest to go to confession, speak to God. He’s your Father. Tell Him the truth: ‘Lord. I did this and this and this. Pardon me.’ Ask His forgiveness with all your heart with an act of contrition, and promise Him, ‘afterward I will go to confession.’ You will return to God’s grace immediately. You yourself can draw near, as the catechism teaches us, to God’s forgiveness, without having a priest at hand.” (Homily, Pope Francis, March 20, 2020).
Liturgical Guidelines for the Celebration
of Holy Week and Easter 2021 in time of COVID-19 Pandemic
in the Archdiocese of San Fernando
The Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments in its “Decree in time of COVID-19 (II)” offers an update to the general indications and suggestions.
“Considering the rapidly evolving situation of the Covid-19 pandemic and taking into account observations which have come from Episcopal Conferences, this Congregation now offers an update to the general indications and suggestions already given to Bishops in the preceding decree of 19 March 2020.
Given that the date of Easter cannot be transferred, in the countries which have been struck by the disease and where restrictions around the assembly and movement of people have been imposed, Bishops and priests may celebrate the rites of Holy Week without the presence of the people and in a suitable place, avoiding concelebration and omitting the sign of peace.
The faithful should be informed of the beginning times of the celebrations so that they can prayerfully unite themselves in their homes. Means of live (not recorded) telematic broadcasts can be of help. In any event it remains important to dedicate an adequate time to prayer, giving importance above all to the Liturgia Horarum. (Liturgy of the Hours)”
Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord
- “The commemoration of the Lord’s Entrance into Jerusalem is to be celebrated within sacred buildings.”
- Therefore, the liturgy of Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord should NOT be celebrated in malls, club houses, function halls, private mansions…These are not sacred buildings.
- “In the cathedral the second form given in the Roman Missal is to be adopted.”
- In parish churches and other sacred buildings the third form is used.
- The blessing of palms outside the church with procession to the church is not used.
- The Blessing of the Palm branches is done at the Entrance Rite when the presider is already in the sanctuary. The faithful must be in their places before the beginning of the celebration. NO need to sprinkle Holy Water. The proclamation of the Word of God and the prayer of blessing
- When there is not enough palm branches, any leaf or plant branch may be used.
- When the faithful follow the liturgical celebration through live-streaming, the blessing of their palms or any leaf branches is imparted by the scriptural reading and the Prayer of Blessing. There is no need for holy water for the blessing of their palm or leaf branches.
- For the proclamation of the Passion Narrative, it is enough that there are two lectors/readers, and the priest-presider each given the proper roles of the characters in the Gospel narration.
- “Bishops and priests celebrate the Holy Week,…avoiding concelebration.”
- There should be a live streaming of the liturgy of Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion in the Cathedral and Parish Churches. Live-stream liturgical celebration means actual, real-time celebration, not pre-recorded, not even recorded readings, etc.
- No motorcade, house to house blessing of palms in exclusive subdivisions, villages and private mansions.
- Where it is not possible to celebrate Mass, there should be held a Liturgy of the Word about the Lord’s Messianic entry and his Passion, either on the Saturday evening or at a suitable time on Sunday. Palms are leaf branches are NOT to be blessed without at least such a Liturgy of the Word. The faithful should be informed beforehand that there is NO individual blessing of Palms or leaf branches after the Mass at the sacristy or sanctuary.
- Other celebrations are NOT permitted, NOT even funeral masses.
Holy Monday, Holy Tuesday, Holy Wednesday
- Other celebrations are NOT permitted, with the exception of funeral masses. NO weddings Masses, and other ritual Masses and votive Masses.
- NO procession is to be held on Holy Wednesday.
- There should be live-streaming of the Holy Monday, Holy Tuesday and Holy Wednesday liturgies in the Cathedral and parish churches. Live-stream liturgical celebration means actual, real-time celebration, not pre-recorded, not even recorded readings, etc.
- Devotions not related to the Holy Week must be omitted, v.g. Wednesday novena to Our Lady of Perpetual Help.
Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper
1.The Holy Thursday Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper is to be celebrated ONLY in the Cathedral and in Parish Churches and NOT in oratories, malls, club houses, functions halls, private mansions.
2. The Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper is to be celebrate at late afternoon, not in the morning, or at noon. (Veritas Temporis)
3. NO Dakit Cordero.
“The washing of the feet or mandatum, which is already optional, is to be omitted.” Therefore, NO apostoles.
4. NO “Visita Iglesia.”
5. Options for the Eucharistic adoration. CHOOSE ONLY ONE.
Option 1: “To prevent the faithful from congregating in number for the Visita Iglesia, we can instead bring in motorcade the Blessed Sacrament (in a veiled ciborium NOT in a monstrance) around the parish after the celebration of the Lord’s Supper while people venerate outside their houses. They may be encouraged to kneel and hold candles. If this is done, strict coordination with the LGU and Barangay officials is necessary. There will be no need for an altar of repose that will be set up in the Church for this year. After the celebration, the Blessed Sacrament will be reposed in the sacristy in silence. The church will be closed from then on till the next celebration.
Option 2: “Another option, if the parish decides to have the Altar of Repose, is to open the Church for the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament for a short period of time e.g. 1 hour, then the Church is closed and public adoration is ended.
a. The transfer of the Blessed Sacrament is done in a simplified way from the altar to the altar of repose without the usual procession within the Church.
b. A simple altar of repose is to be prepared. Since it is a reposition and not an exposition, the Blessed Sacrament is kept inside a ciborium and NOT in a monstrance (which is for benediction).
c. Assigned adorers should be limited in number observing physical distancing. d. The short adoration should also be live-streamed.
7. Today, the faithful are encouraged to offer gifts in cash or kind for the needy members of the community.
8. The family members gathered in their homes are encouraged to gather the money or good which were fruits of their Lenten penance. They can send this to their parish, to any charitable institutions or a poor family in the community.
9. Other celebrations are NOT permitted, not even funeral Masses.
10. There should be live-streaming of the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper in the Cathedral and Parish Churches. Live-stream liturgical celebration means actual, real-time celebration, not pre-recorded, not even recorded readings, etc.
11. The altar may be decorated with flowers with a moderation that accords with the character of the day. The tabernacle should be entirely empty, but a sufficient amount of bread should be consecrated in this Mass for the communion of the limited number of ministers who will assist at the Good Friday liturgy.
12. Where there is no offertory procession, the offertory chant is omitted.
13. Eucharistic Prayer II or III is used for the Eucharistic liturgy. Eucharistic Prayer II is actually the revised version of the oldest Eucharistic Prayer from the Apostolic Tradition of St. Hippolytus of Rome.
Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion
1. The Good Friday Liturgy of the Passion of the Lord is to be celebrated ONLY in the Cathedral and parish churches, NOT in Barangay chapels, private oratories, malls, club houses, function halls and private mansions etc.
2. The Good Friday Liturgy is to be celebrated NOT earlier than 3:00 in the afternoon.
3. The liturgical color of the Celebration of the Passion of the Lord is red, NOT black or violet.
4. The proclamation of the Passion narrative, it is enough that there are two lectors/readers and the priest-presider, each given the proper roles of the characters in the Gospel narrative.
5. After the reading of the Lord’s Passion, the Priest gives a BRIEF HOMILY and at its end the faithful may be invited to spend a short time in silent prayer.
6. At the solemn intercessions/universal prayer, there is an additional intention during this time of pandemic—for the COVID-19 victims, doctors and nurses, health workers, the front-liners and those who have died.
7. The presider ALONE will do the kissing at the Veneration of the Cross. The faithful will be asked to make a common gesture (e.g. kneeling, bowing) of adoration of the cross together. People may also venerate their cross at home.
8. No blessing, no recessional song. After genuflection to the cross, all deposit in silence.
9. After the celebration, the altar is stripped, but the cross remains on the altar with two or four candlesticks.
10. Vespers (Evening Prayer) is not celebrated by those who have been present at the Solemn afternoon liturgical celebration.
11. ONLY ONE cross should be used for the veneration of the Holy Cross as this contributes to the full symbolism of the rite. It must be a wooden cross. (Behold the WOOD of the cross…)
12. NO veneration (“burul” or “lame”) of the Santo Entierro. The primary image of Good Friday is the Cross, NOT the Santo Entierro.
13. NO Good Friday processions.
14. Other celebrations are NOT permitted, NOT EVEN funeral Masses.
15. There should be live-streaming of Good Friday liturgy in the Cathedral and Parish Churches. Live-stream liturgical celebration means actual, real-time celebration, not pre-recorded, not even recorded readings, etc.
Easter Vigil in the Holy Night
1. The Easter Vigil Liturgy is to be celebrated ONLY in the Cathedral and Parish Churches, NOT in Barangay chapels, private oratories, malls, club houses, function halls, private mansions, etc.
2. The Easter Vigil is to be celebrated NOT earlier than 6:00 in the evening. It is a vigil. (Veritas Temporis)
3. At the beginning of the Easter Vigil, the preparation and lighting of fire is omitted.
4. The “Lucernarium” is celebrated within the building of the Church. The Paschal candle is lighted (lucernarium) but the procession is omitted, then the Easter Proclamation (Exultet) is sung. The shorter form of the Exsultet may be used.
5. The acclamation “the Light of Christ” is done only ONCE since there is no procession of the Paschal candle.
6. At the Liturgy of the Word, only three readings from the Old Testament are proclaimed, the reading from Exodus (Ex 14:15-15:1), should NOT be omitted.
7. For the “Baptismal liturgy,” ONLY the renewal of Baptismal promises is retained (cf. Missale Romanum), since Easter is baptismal in nature.
8. Baptisms are omitted. Thus, the font is not blessed. The litany is omitted. The blessing of water is not omitted.
9. After the blessing of water, all stand, holding lighted candles in their hands, and renew the promises of baptismal faith.
10. No dipping or immersion of the Paschal Candle.
11. At the renewal of baptismal promises, people in their homes are encouraged to participate. They may also hold lighted candles in their homes as they renew their baptismal vows.
12. Candles should be prepared for all who participate in the Easter vigil.
13. Since processions are still discouraged, the “Salubong” can be replaced by a motorcade of the statue of the Risen Lord and the Nuestra Señora de la Alegria (Our Lady of Joys) brought around the parish, after the celebration of the Easter Vigil or in the dawn, before the first Easter Sunday Mass. If this is done, strict coordination with the LGU and Barangay officials is necessary.
14. There should be live streaming of Easter Vigil liturgy in the Cathedral and Parish Churches. Live-stream liturgical celebration means actual, real-time celebration, not pre-recorded, not even recorded readings, etc.
Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of the Lord
1. The Penitential Rite is omitted.
2. The celebrant introduces the Mass of the day. The priest in front of the altar holds the Paschal Candle prepared and blessed during the Easter Vigil. He exhorts the people. Then he raises the Paschal Candle and an acclamation may be sung.
3. Then, the Gloria is sung. While the hymn is sung, bells are rung according to local custom.
4. The sequence, Victimae Paschalis Laudes (Christians, to the Paschal Victim) may be recited after the second reading and before the alleluia.
5. After the homily, the Renewal of Baptismal Promises is done.
6. The blessing of the 500 Years of Christianity Mission Crosses may follow.
7. All are sprinkled with water blessed on Easter Vigil. The EMDC may assist the priest in the sprinkling of the people with Holy Water.
8. There should be live-streaming of Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of the Lord liturgy in the Cathedral and Parish Churches. Live-stream liturgical celebration means actual, real-time celebration, not pre-recorded, not even recorded readings, etc.
9. If it was not done after the Easter Vigil, a motorcade of the image of the Risen Lord and the Nuestra Señora de la Alegria (Our Lady of Joys) may be brought around the parish. If this is done, strict coordination with the LGU and Barangay officials is necessary.
1. Expression of popular piety and processions which enrich the days of Holy Week and the Paschal Triduum can be transferred to other suitable days in the year, for example 14 and 15 September (Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross and Our Lady of Sorrows).
2. NO Dalo Balen during Holy Week and Easter Octave. The focus of attention and celebration is the Paschal Mystery, the Passion, Death and Resurrection of the Lord. The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy teaches us that: “the commemoration of the very mysteries of salvation takes precedence over devotions”10 “Such devotions should be drawn up that they harmonize with the liturgical seasons…”11 The liturgy is a sacred action surpassing all others. No other action of the Church can equal its efficacy by the same title and to the same degree.12 The Dalo Balen should only resume on the Monday after the Octave of Easter, that is Monday after the Divine Mercy Sunday.
3. NO concelebration. The recent Vatican guidelines specifically instruct us to avoid concelebrations since our celebration must also show our sincere efforts at avoiding gatherings of people.
4. Family/Home celebrations do not replace the liturgical celebrations. After following live-streamed Holy Week liturgy, the family does this celebration: the father or any of the elders of the household can lead the celebration.
5. NO processions around the parish with the Blessed Sacrament, the cross and images. NO communal Stations of the Cross. NO Holy Wednesday, Good Friday Procession. NO Salubong.