Palm Sunday and Easter will be observed remotely around Detroit in this season of virus


March 24, 2020, 6:13 AM


Detroit Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron celebrates a livestream Mass this past Sunday with only a co-celebrant, two cameramen, an altar server and a handful of cantors at Blessed Sacrament Cathedral. (Photos: Paul Duda/Archdiocese of Detroit)

As rituals are reshaped in countless ways, the Archdiocese of Detroit posts news about Holy Week observances in coming weeks. 

Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron, who cancelled Palm Sunday masses two weeks ago, now confirms that Catholic churches in Southeast Michigan will remain closed on Easter. He'll conduct a livestreamed Mass at 11 a.m. from Blessed Sacrament Cathedral in Detroit, as he did the past two Sundays.

In an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus, Michigan's governor on Monday issued a stay-home order in effect at least through April 13, the day after that significant Christian observance.  

"It is with great sadness that I have to announce to you that Holy Week celebrations will not be offered publicly this year," the archbishop says in a letter to the faithful. He adds:

While it is not possible for us to gather in our parishes during Holy Week and on Easter, it is possible for us to be connected in other ways. I ask you to remain attentive to aod.org and spiritualclosness.org for ways to be connected with each other during these days. ...

I know this is an unprecedented time in the life of our local Church. But unprecedented challenges bring unprecedented graces. ... Please know of my prayers for you and our whole State of Michigan during these days.

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Archbishop Vigneron: "Unprecedented challenges bring unprecedented graces."

Easter, the foundation of the Christian faith, marks the resurrection of Jesus from the dead three days after his crucifixion by the Romans. It's preceded by Lent, a 40-day period of fasting, prayer and penance.

Vigneron also issues liturgical guidelines in effect through Easter Monday, including an instruction that "palms are not to be distributed in the parish." Other directives:

  • No funerals and weddings during the next three weeks. Priests should coordinate with funeral directors when families request the rites proper to funerals. Graveside services are still permitted provided they observe proper social distancing.

  • No baptisms. Where there is a real danger of death, the person should be baptized in the hospital or home of the parents.

  • Priests are to continue to celebrate private Mass daily.

  • Parishes should look for innovative ways to spiritually support the faithful, including livestreaming of Masses and supporting the catechesis of the faithful through electronic means. Parishes may collaborate.

  • Up to 10 assistants (musician, cameraperson, server) are permitted so that a quality livestream Mass is possible.

  • Confirmations are suspended until further notice.

  • Priests should consider the best options for the celebration of private confession for those in dire need.

  • Anointing of the Sick for those in dire need of the sacrament should still be performed in the home of the individual or in the hospital or healthcare facility.

  • Pastors should keep their churches clean and open, if they are able, and available for prayer, especially for those interceding for the sick.

  • Parish offices are to be closed and employees, as they are able, are to work from home.



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