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COVID-19 : Syro Malabar Church cancels Holy Week ceremonies

Kochi, Mar 29 (GCCurrentAffairs) Syro Malabar Church has decided to cancel Holy Week ceremonies like washing of feet on Maundy Thursday and penitential procession on Good Friday from April five in view of the lockdown to prevent the spread of Coronavirus.
Cardinal Mar George Alencherry, head of Syro Malabar Church, in a circular on Sunday directed all the priests of the churches to conduct the Holy Week without the participation of the faithful.
No procession with palm leaves to be held on Palm Sunday and the penitential procession on Good Friday has also been suspended. Priests can avoid the Easter night Mass on Holy Saturday and offer a Mass the following morning instead, the circular said.
The rituals can be conducted by the priests without the participation of laity and with the help of necessary altar servers, preferably less than five persons.
On Palm Sunday, palm leaves should not be distributed to anyone except for those attending the ceremony.
The bread breaking ceremony at homes during Maundy Thursday should strictly have only those in the house and no common breaking of the bread either in ward groups or as a community.
He said the kissing of the crucifix should be dispensed with. These rituals may be postponed to September 14, the Feast of the Holy Cross. The usual blessing and distribution of holy water will also not take place on Holy Saturday. Holy water can be distributed to the laity on another occasion, the circular said.
A chapter from the Bible should be read during family prayers. Rosary, others prayers and Way of the Cross would help families maintain the spiritual atmosphere in Holy Week.
Care should be taken that there are not more than five persons at any time, the Cardinal said.

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