Archbishop of KL – liturgical celebrations done without congregation in Holy Week

Ornate church interior. — DayakDaily.com file pic. // Photo: Pixabay

KUCHING, Mar 26: The Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur has decreed that liturgical celebrations will be done without the congregation by priest of the various arch and dioceses.

In a statement today, President Catholic Bishops Conference of Malaysia Most Reverend Julian Leow Beng Kim said this is in view of the extension of the Movement Control Order (MCO) that unavoidably coincides with the holiest season in the Church liturgical Calendar, the holy week.

“In view of the restrictions placed under the extension of the MCO and the prohibitions of public gatherings, we the arch and bishops of the three archdioceses and six dioceses of Malaysia, hereby decree that the liturgical celebrations until the 14th of April 2020, including that of Holy Week, will be done without the congregation by the priests of the various arch and dioceses,” he said.

Leow added that the Catholic Bishops of Malaysia had also agreed to adopt the liturgical norms that was set out for the Holy Week.

The listed Liturgical and Pastoral norms that was set out are that the date of Easter remains on the April 12 this year.

“As clarified by the decree of the Vatican, this date cannot be changed because this feast is ‘at the heart of the entire liturgical year.'”

The Chrism Mass, where the holy oils are blessed and where priests renew their priestly promises, will be moved to a later date which will be announced at the end of this restriction period.

For Holy Thursday, the parish priest can celebrate the evening mass of the Lord’s Supper without the traditional Washing of Feet nor the procession of the Blessed Sacrament to the Place of Repose.

The faculty to celebrate Mass without the people, is granted in an exceptional manner to all priests. The Blessed Sacrament is to be reposed in the Tabernacle. Communities of consecrated persons and laity are encouraged to observe common prayer in their respective houses and homes, which may include praying the Divine Office or the rosary together. Members of Religious Houses or families may wash each other’s feet.

Good Friday: In the Cathedral and parish churches, the Bishop or Parish Priest will celebrate the Passion of the Lord. In the Universal Prayer, there should be a special intention for the sick, the dead, for those who feel lost or dismayed (cf Missale Romanum, pag.314 n. 13).

According to local circumstances, the priest may privately venerate the cross and receive holy communion.

Easter Vigil: The Lucenarium, the Lighting of Fire and Preparation of Candle are to be omitted. The Paschal Candle is lit, the procession is omitted and the Easter Proclamation (Exsultet) follows. The “Liturgy of the Word” then takes place. For the “Baptismal Liturgy”, the “Renewal of Baptismal Promises” alone is necessary. (cf. Missale Romanum, pg. 371, n. 55). The “Liturgy of the Eucharist” then follows. Those who have absolutely no possibility of uniting themselves to the Paschal Vigil celebrated in a church should pray the Office of Readings for Easter Sunday.

Baptisms and confirmation of adults, which were scheduled for Easter, are to be postponed to a later date.

The Laity are encouraged to pray the Divine Office and avail themselves of devotions of popular piety-praying the Way of the Cross, fasting, making spiritual communion, praying the Divine Mercy Novena etc during this period.

The various arch and dioceses will continue to provide daily live streamed masses as long as this is possible. The priests are also encouraged to connect with their people through the use of online conferencing applications, social media and other online resources, if this is available.

The Social Communications Ministry of the various arch/dioceses are prepared to provide assistance to parishes, ministries and priests. — DayakDaily