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Pope Francis to celebrate Easter without public, Croatia allows procession

Christian Fernsby |
The Vatican Office for the Liturgical Celebrations of the Pope has had to quickly reorganize the way these liturgies are celebrated this year during the Coronavirus lockdown.

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Many events will be live-streamed, then archived for later viewing.

While Pope Francis will preside over them without the physical presence of the faithful, millions will join him spiritually through the media.

Radio, television and the internet will allow the Pope to be close to those unable to participate in the liturgies of this unique Easter Triduum.

On Holy Thursday, the Pope will not preside at the Chrism Mass, which will be celebrated at a later date. It will not include the traditional washing of the feet which can, in any case, be omitted. There will be no procession of the Blessed Sacrament to the Altar of Repose either.

On Good Friday, the Liturgy of the Passion with the Adoration of the Cross, will take place at 6pm in St. Peter's Basilica. The Crucifix of St. Marcellus will be covered. The Preacher of the Papal Household, Father Raniero Cantalamessa, will deliver a meditation, after which the Crucifix will be revealed. Adoration will follow, without the traditional kissing of the Cross.

The Stations of the Cross, or Via Crucis, will take place at 9pm on Good Friday evening in St. Peter's Square. The Stations will include stops around Bernini’s colonnade and the obelisk at the centre of the Square, concluding at the steps leading up to St. Peter’s Basilica. The Cross will be carried by two groups: prisoners from Padua, who wrote some of the meditations, and doctors and nurses from the Vatican Healthcare Department.

The Holy Saturday Vigil will begin at 9pm in St. Peter’s Basilica. No baptisms will be performed during the liturgy. The bells of the Basilica will ring at the moment of the “Gloria”, announcing the Resurrection.

The Pope will celebrate Easter Sunday Mass at 11am at the Altar of the Chair in St. Peter’s Basilica. The Gospel will be proclaimed in Greek and Latin. At the end of Mass, Pope Francis will go to the Sacristy to remove his vestments, before returning to the Altar of the Confession.

From there, he will deliver his Urbi et orbi message and give his Easter blessing. The entire celebration will take place inside the Basilica.

A procession for the cross begins tonight in Hvar, Croatia at which 15 participants will take part from each place (Jelsa, Pitve, Vrisnik, Svirče, Vrbanj, Vrboska), with the permission of the Civil Protection Staff of the Republic of Croatia.

"The procession goes in circles, everyone starts tonight at 10 pm, when, for example, those from Jelsa come to Pitve, then those from Pitve go to Vrisnik and so on. We gave them disinfectants to disinfect the church in every place, and they the procession will mostly be outdoors.

"This procession has been held in Hvar for 500 years and it never happened, even during the war, that it would not take place. The only fear is that people will join the procession, and the other problem to maintain it doesn't exist," Jelsa Civilian Headquarters said.

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