From: Monsignor Murray J. Kroetsch, PH, VG
Chancellor, Diocese of Hamilton
In keeping with the recent instructions forwarded to Bishops and Episcopal Conferences by the
Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (Prot. N. 96/21) and in
view of the current “Red Zone” designation of almost all regions in the Diocese of Hamilton, the
following protocols are to be observed for the liturgical rites of Holy Week and the Easter Triduum
Note: The current protocols in place because of Covid and its variant strains require us to celebrate
the Holy Week and Triduum liturgies simply this year. We look forward to next year, when we
hopefully will be able to celebrate with greater solemnity.
• Palms are not distributed.
• The third form: simple entrance is to be used (RM, page 263). There is no blessing of
palms, no Gospel proclamation of the Entry into Jerusalem and no solemn procession with
palms. Mass begins in the usual manner as on the other Sundays of Lent.
• The Passion of the Lord (Year B) may be proclaimed in the usual manner in parts with
three readers. Note that the readers need to be seated socially distant.
Holy Thursday — Mass of the Lord’s Supper
• The entrance rites take place in the usual manner.
• Where it is the custom to present the oils blessed and consecrated at the Chrism Mass at
the beginning of the liturgy, this rite is omitted this year. Upon receiving the oils, they are
to be placed in the ambry without ceremony.
• The optional washing of feet following the homily is omitted.
• The presentation of gifts for the poor, which is customary in some parishes, is omitted.
• The Communion Rite takes place in the usual manner in accord with Covid protocols. The
Body of Christ is received in the hand only and Communion from the chalice is not
• Following the distribution of Communion, ciboria with sufficient hosts for the next day are
left on the altar. After the Prayer after Communion, the priest (and other ministers as
necessary) approach the altar, and taking the ciboria move directly to the sacristy where
the Blessed Sacrament is to be reserved. There is no solemn procession with the Blessed
Sacrament at the conclusion of the liturgy.
• The assembly leaves the church immediately following the departure of the ministers from
• There is no period of adoration following the reservation of the Blessed Sacrament.
Good Friday — The Celebration of the Passion of the Lord.
• The Celebration of the Passion of the Lord begins with the priest alone approaching the
sanctuary and prostrating himself as the assembly kneels for silent prayer.
• Following the Prayer, the prescribed readings are proclaimed in the usual manner.
• The reading of the Passion according to John is proclaimed in the same manner as on Palm
Sunday. Note that the readers need to be seated socially distant.
• Following a brief homily, the intercessions (Roman Missal, page 296) are said or sung as
usual. The final petition may be expanded to include those who are suffering or have died
because of the Covid pandemic.
• The Cross is processed to the sanctuary from the sacristy accompanied by two acolytes
with lighted candles. The priest takes the cross and faces the people. If the Cross is veiled,
he unveils it using the traditional formula (Roman Missal, page 309). If the Cross is not
veiled, he shows it to the people three times using the formula: Behold the wood of the
Cross, to which the people respond: Come, let us adore.
The Cross is placed in a stand or on a table, with lighted candles on each side. The priest
and people kneel for a moment of silent prayer and then the priest alone kisses the Cross
before proceeding to the altar for the Communion Rite.
• The altar is prepared and the Communion Rite takes place as in the Roman Missal (page
317 ff.) Communion is distributed in the usual manner in accord with Covid protocols.
• Following the concluding prayer and blessing, the priest returns directly to the sacristy.
• Where it is customary or deemed pastorally necessary, an additional celebration of the
Passion may take place.
Other Good Friday Prayers and Devotions
• Where it is the custom to gather at another hour for the Station of the Cross, this is
permitted. However, the presider and the reader should remain at their places (i.e., the chair
and the ambo, respectively). There should be no movement to each station around the
• The optional preparatory rites for those to be baptized at the Easter Vigil are omitted.
Easter Vigil in the Holy Night
• Gathering around a fire outside the church is not permitted. A simple Easter fire should be
prepared in the church from which the Paschal candle is lighted.
• The blessing of the fire and the lighting of the candle, and the Easter Proclamation (Exultet)
take place as in the Roman Missal (pp. 324-344). Candles for the assembly may be used,
provided they take them with them following the liturgy.
• The Liturgy of the Word takes place in the usual manner. Several Readers may be used;
however, they need to be seated socially distant. The Easter Gospel is proclaimed in the
usual manner and a brief homily is given.
• If there are no Baptisms, there is no Litany of Saints and no blessing of water. The renewal
of Baptismal Promises takes place as in the Roman Missal (page 361). There is no
sprinkling of the assembly with blessed water.
• If there are Baptisms, the Litany of Saints is omitted, but the font is blessed. A pitcher of
water (in or beside the font) is blessed for use during the baptism(s).
The Rite of Baptism takes place as usual; however, following the Profession of Faith, it is
important that the water is poured over each candidate from the pitcher, rather than from
water in the font. The clothing with the white garment and presentation of the candle take
place as usual. For the celebration of Confirmation, the Chrism is applied to the forehead
using a fresh a cotton swab or ball for each of the newly-baptized.
If the Reception into Full Communion is celebrated, it takes place in the usual manner.
• The renewal of Baptismal Promises takes place as outlined in the Roman Missal (page
361). The sprinkling of the assembly is omitted.
• The Liturgy of the Eucharist takes place in the usual manner.
Easter Sunday Masses
• Easter Sunday Masses are celebrated as usual, except that the Renewal of Promises takes
place following the homily (in place of the Creed). For this year, the sprinkling of the
assembly is omitted.
The Sacrament of Reconciliation
During the current “Red Zone” designation of almost all regions in the Diocese of Hamilton, it is
preferable that the Sacrament of Reconciliation is to be celebrated by appointment only. If hours
of Confessions are scheduled in parishes, it is important to ensure that sanitization takes place
before and after each person celebrates the sacrament and that those waiting to receive the
Sacrament are distanced.
At this time Priests are not permitted to enter the schools for the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
Admission of Priests into classrooms is restricted by local health authorities in order to ensure the
safety of children who have returned to the classroom. Children (and their parents) wishing to
celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation (including First Confession) should be invited to do so
in the church, while observing all the Covid protocols for celebrations taking place in the church.
Pastors are to remind parishioners of the Instruction from the Apostolic Penitentiary (March 19,
2020) regarding the Sacrament of Reconciliation in the Present Emergency of the Coronavirus:
“Where the faithful should be in the painful impossibility of receiving sacramental
absolution, it should be remembered that perfect contrition, coming from the love of God,
loved above all else, expressed by a sincere request for forgiveness (one which the penitent
is able to express in that moment) and accompanied by the votum confessionis, that is, by
the firm resolution to receive sacramental confession a soon as possible, obtains the
forgiveness of sins, even mortal ones. (cf. ccc. N. 1452)”
Individual Baptisms may be celebrated at this time, provided that all the current health protocols
are observed. It is recommended that communal celebrations with several children being baptized
be avoided as much as possible.