KOCHI, March 29: The The liturgical celebrations of the Holy Week from April 5 would be low-key and held without the presence of the faithful and would be livestreamed in view of the lockdown as part of measures to prevent spread of coronavirus, the Syro-Malabar Church has said.
"We are in the 21-day lockdown announced by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The celebrations of the Holy Week should be limited in respect of the restrictions imposed by the state government and the civil authorities," the Syro-Malabar Church said.
"On the basis of the restrictions imposed for the assembly and movement of people, to contain this pandemic, it is decided that the rites of the Holy Week should be celebrated without the presence of the faithful," guidelines issued by Church head Cardinal George Alencherry said.
"As far as possible live streaming of the liturgical celebrations should be done for the benefit of the faithful," according to the guidelines issued on Saturday.
The church said the ritual of washing of feet is to be skipped on Maundy Thursday.
Urging the faithful to limit the breaking of bread within individual families, it directed that there should be no common breaking of the bread either in ward groups or as a community.
"On Good Friday no public veneration of the Cross or Way of the Cross should be held. These may be scheduled on a later occasion; like September 14, for instance," the influential Syro-Malabar Church said.
The Blessing of Water need not be held and this can be done at a later time, it said.
"The Easter rituals need not be held at night.
Offering mass in the morning will suffice", it said and added that the Holy Week should be a time of incessant prayers in families.
Directing the Bishops to celebrate the liturgies in the Cathedral and the priests in their respective parishes, the guidelines, however, insisted that care should be taken that there are not more than five people at any time. - PTI