General Guidelines for the celebration of Holy Week & Easter

Holy Week which leads to Easter is the heart of the liturgical year. Given the COVID-19 pandemic, the Archdiocese of Edmonton offers the following guidelines for Holy Week and the Paschal Triduum.

Parishes are taking all necessary precautions to keep everyone safe. If you are healthy and able, and if your home parish has space for you, it is best to attend these liturgies in person.

The Archdiocese is encouraging the faithful, who cannot attend in-person in their own church, to participate in the live-streamed celebrations presided over by Archbishop Richard Smith during Holy Week and the Paschal Triduum as a sign of unity. The livestreamed Archdiocesan liturgies will be broadcast on YouTube and Facebook at St. Joseph’s Basilica.

Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord, March 28, 10:30 a.m.

  • Palms for Palm Sunday may be distributed safely, following health protocols, by having designated ushers place them in pews before Mass. The church will remain closed to the public while the palms are placed in the pews. This process will be repeated between masses after pews are disinfected.

  • Some churches may place the palms on a table and have designated volunteers to hand the palms to parishioners as they enter the church.

  • Singing is only permissible during the Entrance, Offertory and Communion by one cantor. The cantor may be accompanied by an instrumentalist.

Chrism Mass (Monday of Holy Week), March 29, 4 p.m.

  • All priests will be invited to gather around Archbishop Smith to concelebrate the Chrism Mass.

  • Due to the capacity limits in place for places of worship, Deacon Lynn Pion, Permanent Deacon Lead, will attend the Mass to represent the permanent deacons. Each deanery in the Archdiocese can invite two to three guests to represent the lay faithful. Everyone else is invited to follow the Mass virtually.

Holy Thursday April 1, 7 p.m. with Archbishop Smith

  • The washing of feet, which is already optional, is to be omitted this year.

Good Friday, April 2, 3 p.m. with Archbishop Smith

  • For the adoration of the Holy Cross, only the priest kisses the Cross. After kissing the Cross, he offers it for adoration to the faithful. The priest will stand in the middle before the altar and after inviting the people in a few words to adore the Holy Cross, he will hold it elevated for a brief time while the faithful adore it in silence.

  • Singing is only permissible during Communion.

Holy Saturday and Easter Vigil, April 3, 2:30 p.m. Blessing of the Easter Food. 9 p.m., Easter Vigil with Archbishop Smith

  • At the Solemn Beginning of the Vigil, the preparation and lighting of the fire is omitted, the Paschal Candle is lit and the procession is omitted.

  • For the Baptismal Liturgy, social distancing and all other Covid-19 restrictions should be followed.

  • During the celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation, the name of the confirmand will be pronounced by the celebrant followed by the anointing and the words “Be sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit.” This process will be repeated for each confirmand.

  • The thumb of the celebrant will not touch the confirmand’s forehead when anointing. Instead, the celebrant will use a new cotton swab or cotton ball each time the chrism is applied. Both the celebrant and the confirmand should wear a mask.

  • For the Renewal of Baptismal Promises, the presider can go around the congregation sprinkling with Holy Water with mask donned, or he can symbolically sprinkle the congregation from the sanctuary.

  • Singing is only permissible during the Offertory and Communion by one cantor. The cantor may be accompanied by an instrumentalist.

Easter Sunday, 10:30 a.m. with Archbishop Smith

  • Easter Sunday should follow the same Covid-19 protocols in place for Sundays.

  • Singing is only permissible during the Entrance, Offertory and Communion by one cantor. The cantor may be accompanied by an instrumentalist.

Mission Leadership – Divine Worship