ARCHDIOCESE OF CACERES
Office of the Archbishop
C I R C U L A R
Series of 2020
TO: ALL THE PRIESTS AND FAITHFUL IN THE ARCHDIOCESE OF CACERES
RE: GUIDELINES FOR THE HOLY WEEK CELEBRATION IN THE ARCHDIOCESE OF CACERES, THE CELEBRATION OF THE SACRAMENTS, PASTORAL CARE FOR THE SICK, SOCIAL SERVICES, FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE IN THE DURATION OF THE QUARANTINE PERIOD
The celebration of the Holy Week will be simplified due to the enhanced community quarantine. The guidelines follow the recommendations laid down by CBCP, Decree of the Congregation of the Divine Worship and Sacrament and the precautionary measures prescribed by the Government.
I. GENERAL GUIDELINES
1. All priests will continue to celebrate the Holy Week and Paschal Triduum in the absence of the congregation.
2. The Archdiocese of Caceres will provide a live coverage of the Holy Week Celebrations at the Metropolitan Cathedral through media (internet, tv, and radio).
3. The public celebrations of Holy Week, Blessing of the Palms, Procession, Tonton-Easter Angel, Passion Play and the Communal Pabasa are suspended. However, the faithful are encouraged to listen to the Siete Palabras at the Metropolitan Cathedral through the media. Parishes shall no longer hold Siete Palabras.
4. During the Holy Week, communion inside the Church or sacred place may be administered after each liturgical celebration. Communion shall be received by the hand only, following precautionary measures and liturgical guidelines.
5. When anointing of the sick or confession has to be administered, precautionary measures should be strictly observed.
6. The precautionary measures prescribed by DOH, such as social distancing, hygiene protocols and sanitation of the spaces for the liturgy, shall be observed in the liturgical celebration.
II. HOLY WEEK
A. PALM SUNDAY
The celebration of the Palm Sunday will be simplified. There will be a Mass in the absence of the congregation with a limited number of lay liturgical ministers.
The faithful can follow the celebration through the media. In this case, the presider will impart the blessing over the palm branches of the faithful who are following in their homes.
The Second Form (without procession) of the celebration of the Mass will be observed with the presence of limited number of ministers.
After the Mass, the priest accompanied by two lay ministers has the option to go around the streets within the parish jurisdiction riding a vehicle to bless the palm branches placed in front of houses. The blessing of the the Palm branches shall be by hand without springkling of Holy Water.
The faithful can participate and receive the blessing of the palm branches through the media.
They can gather together and pray the “Celebration of Palm Sunday at Home”. Rite to be provided by the Commission on Liturgy.
After the Mass, if the blessing of palm branches around the Parish is possible, families may put palm branches outside their homes for the blessing.
B. MONDAY, TUESDAY AND WEDNESDAY
These days can be devoted to reflections and devotions. Families are encouraged to do religious devotions at home.
Monday can be devoted to the reflection on “Family as Domestic Church”; Tuesday on “Family as Praying Church“; and Wednesday on “Family as Fount of Charitable Works.” The Archdiocese will hold these recollections available thru media.
On Wednesday, the priest with two lay ministers, have the option hold a simple procession of the Nazareno only, mounted on a vehicle to substitute for the general processsion of Pasos. The faithful shall not follow the procession.
C. HOLY THURSDAY
The celebration of the Chrism Mass will be at the Metropolitan Cathedral in a simplified form. Limited attendance of lay liturgical ministers and the Clergy are allowed inside the Cathedral observing the precautionary measures (social distancing, hygiene and sanitation of the space for the liturgical celebration). The faithful can follow the celebration through media.
EVENING MASS OF THE LORD’S SUPPER
The celebration of the Last Supper Mass will be in the absence of the Congregation at the Metropolitan Cathedral with limited lay liturgical ministers.
The rite of the “Washing of the Feet” is omitted.
At the end of the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, the Blessed Sacrament shall be reposed in the tabernacle in the sacristy. There will be no public vigil of the Blessed Sacrament. Priests who are unable to celebrate Mass should instead pray the vespers of the day. (cf. Liturgia Horarium).
The celebration of the Last Supper Mass will be in the absence of the Congregation.
The rite of the “Washing of the Feet” is omitted.
At the end of the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, the Blessed Sacrament shall be reposed in the tabernacle in the sacristy. No public vigil of the Blessed Sacrament.
There is an option that after the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, without the faithful, the priest with only two or three lay ministers, will carry the Blessed Sacrament in a Ciborium (not the monstrance) with humeral veil and will go on a procession in a vehicle around the parish. This takes the place of the Visita Iglesia. People with lighted candles may wait in front of their homes.
The family is encouraged to participate in the celebration through media.
The family may celebrate the Cenaculo at home, specifically during the family dinner. Rites to be provided by the Commission on Liturgy.
If there is a procession of the Blessed Sacrament, people with lighted candles wait in front of their homes.
D. GOOD FRIDAY
The Archdiocese will air a live coverage of the Celebration of the Veneration of the Cross and a Siete Palabras at the Cathedral, to be made available through media. Parishes shall no longer hold Siete Palabras.
The celebration of the Veneration of the Cross will be simplified and the number of ministers shall be limited to the barest minimum. Veneration will be done by bowing or kneeling, not kissing or touching the Cross.
The Veneration of the Cross with a limited number of ministers is celebrated in the absence of the Congregation following the prescribed rites of Good Friday.
The first form of the veneration of the Cross should be used. Veneration will be done by bowing or kneeling, not kissing or touching the Cross.
After the Commemoration of the Lord’s Passion, without the faithful, the priest, wearing a red cope or a red stole over a surplice and cassock, has the option to hold a simple procession within the parish. A Crucifix (Cross with a Corpus) visible to the people shall be mounted on a motor vehicle.
People with lighted candles wait in front of their homes to venerate the Cross by kneeling. This takes the place of the public veneration of the cross and the Good Friday processions.
The faithful can follow the Siete Palabras and the celebration of the Veneration of the Cross through media.
The family is encouraged to read the “PASYON” or the Gospel (John 18:1-19,42) at home. They can also pray as a family the “VIA CRUCIS AT HOME.” They can place a crucifix on a table covered with a white cloth, with two candles on either side.
If the parish holds a simple procession of the Crucifix, the faithful with lighted candles shall wait in front of their homes to venerate the Cross by kneeling.
E. EASTER VIGIL
The celebration of the Easter Vigil at the Cathedral will be in the absence of the Congregation. It will be made available through media.
The celebration of Easter Vigil follows the liturgy prescribed in the Roman Missal with some simplifications.
The celebration of Easter Vigil follows the liturgy prescribed in the Roman Missal with simplification. The preparation and the lighting of fire is omitted, the Paschal Candle is lit, the procession is omitted and the Easter Proclamation (Exultet) follows. The priest may reduce the number of readings as allowed in the Missal.
There shall be a limited number of ministers. The form of blessing of baptismal water without baptism should be used.
The faithful can follow the celebration of Easter Vigil through media.
F. EASTER SUNDAY
The Easter Sunday will be celebrated without congregation. Salubong (pagtonton-easter angel) is omitted.
G. SCHEDULE OF THE CELEBRATIONS
III. CELEBRATION OF OTHER SACRAMENTS
Pastor of souls should take care of the spiritual needs of the faithful in this extraordinary time of need. However, we shall reduce to the essentials the manner by which the sacraments are administered considering the public health situation.
1. When Anointing and Confession have to be administered, precautionary measures should be strictly observed in order not to compromise the health of the faithful and the minister.
2. General Absolution may be given be to a number of penitents together if individual confession is not possible.
3. Funeral Mass or Oracion (Prayer for the Dead) must be conducted with precautionary measures such as social distancing and sanitation inside the Church and with limited number of people.
4. Wedding Masses are suspended. Parishes should not accept request to schedule a wedding until the quarantine is lifted. This is for the reason that necessary marriage requirements cannot be fulfilled as this time.
5. Baptism and Confirmation are suspended. But emergency baptism can be administered.
On Individual Confession:
Individual and integral confession and absolution constitute the sole ordinary means by which a member of the faithful who is conscious of grave sin is reconciled with God and with the Church. Only physical and moral impossibility alone can excuse from such confession, in which case reconciliation may be attained by other means (can. 960).
On General Absolution:
General absolution to a number of penitents without prior individual confession, cannot be imparted except in exceptional cases where there is an imminent danger of death, since there is not enough time to hear the confessions of individual penitents (cf. can. 961, §1, 1º CIC), or there exists a grave necessity (cf. can. 961, §§ 1, 2º CIC).
a.The danger of death is imminent from any cause whatsoever.
b.There is not sufficient time for the priest or priests to hear the confessions of the individual penitents.
c.There exists a grave necessity.
d.Communal Preparation to dispose the penitents.
e.Silent admission of sins and exhortation that each person should make an act of contrition.
g.Confessor should instruct the penitents to confess in due time each of the grave sin which cannot be confessed at the moment due to the public health considerations.
On Perfect Contrition: Where the individual faithful find themselves in the painful impossibility of receiving sacramental absolution, it should be remembered that perfect contrition, coming from the love of God, beloved above all things, expressed by a sincere request for forgiveness (that which the penitent is at present able to express) and accompanied by votum confessionis, that is, by the firm resolution to have recourse, as soon as possible, to sacramental confession, obtains forgiveness of sins, even mortal ones (cf. CCC, no. 1452).
IV. PASTORAL SERVICES FOR THE SICK
1. Spiritual care of the sick during the quarantine period shall be under the pastoral care of the parish. The vicariate is encouraged to assist the parish in the event there is a need for additional ministers.
2. Any priest, especially those able and fit, should be ready for any sick call and should strictly observe safety measures and precautions.
3. In responding to requests for sick call, the priest should conduct a brief interview to determine if the patient is a person under monitoring or a person under investigation. In this case, the priest should coordinate with the local health office, for the proper protocols, prior to the administration of the Sacrament.
4. The parish should provide priests with appropriate personal protective equipment, at least gloves and facemask that should be properly disposed of, after each use.
5. In extreme situations, the vicariate must respond by calling for volunteer extraordinary hospital chaplains. Volunteers must be of good health and fit for this special ministry.
V. SOCIAL SERVICES
1. Parish initiatives for social services are highly encouraged in coordination with Caritas Caceres.
2. The Archdiocese, through the Oeconomus, will provide financial assistance to parishes in need.
VI. FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE
1. Parish Financial Report and remittance for the months covered by the Enhanced Community Quarantine may be submitted at a later date after the quarantine period.
2. The parish will provide assistance to the personnel and staff by (a) providing advance honorarium (15 days advance), (b) giving full honorarium covering the period of the ECQ whether regular personnel or daily wage earner, (c) giving additional calamity assistance.
Given at the Chancery, Pilgrim City of Naga, Republic of the Philippines, this 25th day of March in the Year of our Lord, 2020.
ROLANDO J. TRIA TIRONA, O.C.D., D.D.
Archbishop of Caceres