This year, the Celebrations for Holy Week and the Sacred Triduum will be in the presence of Christ’s faithful. This differs from the situation faced last year when acts of public worship were suspended as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Here is guidance for Holy Week 2021 from the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, containing general health and safety measures and specific suggestions for each of the Holy Week liturgies.
Also available to download as a Vade mecum.The theological meaning found through the celebrations of Holy Week with their richness of sign and symbol have to be tempered by the provision that the Church in England and Wales is part of a broader community in which the possibilities of virus transmission are still high. Therefore the general guidance for the safety of those participating in acts of worship have to be strictly adhered to.
The celebrations of the various liturgies of Holy Week should include those things that are necessary for the celebration, but not be prolonged in any way. In particular, those responsible for the planning of the liturgy should take into account:
- The time that people will be within the church buildings; the tension between a dignified celebration and the time to execute that celebration has to be recognised.
- The use of choirs and music has to be taken into consideration as a prolonging factor in this case, remembering that congregational singing is not permitted.
- The movement of people within the church building itself as a potential risk factor.