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Bishop Michael Duca issues guidance on Holy Week and Easter services

Staff Reports
Plaquemine Post South

Bishop Michael Duca of the Diocese of Baton Rouge has issued detailed guidance to priests and deacons with respect to celebrating Holy Week, the Triduum and Easter Sunday services. His directives are being widely distributed by the parishes of the diocese. 

All services will be private in nature, that is restricted to a priest celebrant, a deacon, and a minimum number of assisting ministers, such as a lector and a cantor. The bishop had earlier suspended public liturgical celebrations until April 13 to coincide with Governor Edwards’ proclamation to limit public gatherings. 

With the extension of the governor’s order to April 30, the bishop has likewise extended the suspension of Masses, other liturgies and devotionals until the same date. 

“I have moved carefully so we can consider all aspects of our actions during this time. Now that our stay-at-home directive has been increased to encompass all of April, I will continue to review our policies as reality dictates throughout the month,” Bishop Duca said. 

“This has been an extraordinary Lenten Season to say the least,” the bishop continued, “but the disruption of our liturgical life these past few weeks is not unprecedented in the history of the Church. The Paschal mystery of Christ’s dying and rising, I have found, reveals a depth of grace that has become even more real to me in these challenging days.”

“There will be no public celebrations of Palm Sunday Mass, Holy Week or the Triduum, but the faithful are encouraged to participate by electronic means, be that television, streaming, or other forms of communication,” the bishop said.

Holy Week begins with Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord, which is celebrated this Sunday, April 5. The bishop will bless palms at 10:30 a.m. Mass at St. Joseph Cathedral. Palms will not be blessed in any other churches, chapels or locations in the diocese. This is to conform to directives issued by the Holy See that palms be blessed only in cathedral churches. The palms blessed at the cathedral will not be available for public distribution.

The bishop has postponed the annual Chrism Mass, which is usually held on Wednesdays of Holy Week in our diocese.  Holy oils which are used in liturgical celebrations are blessed at this Mass and distributed to the parishes.

The Sacred Paschal Triduum is the shortest liturgical season of the Church. It begins with evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday and runs through evening prayer (Vespers) on Easter Sunday, Catholicism’s preeminent solemnity, because it celebrates the resurrection of Jesus. 

The liturgies associated with Holy Thursday and Good Friday of the Passion of the Lord have been shortened to align with the bishop’s directives relating to the number of participating ministers. 

The Easter Vigil in the Holy Night, commonly called the Holy Saturday service, has traditionally welcomed catechumens and candidates into full communion with the Church. This service has been truncated and all liturgical activities relating to the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) have been postponed. 

While Palm Sunday, Holy Week, Triduum and Easter services will be private in nature, the diocese’s television station (CatholicLife TV) will air all of them according to the schedule below.  Numerous parishes will also livestream them, and the faithful are asked to check their parishes’ websites for additional information. In addition, CatholicLife TV will air the Stations of the Cross on Good Friday at 11:30 a.m.  More resources can be found on the diocesan website at coronavirus.diobr.org, including dates and times of services which will be broadcast from Rome by EWTN. CatholicLife TV’s complete schedule of programming can be found at www.catholiclifetv.org.

Services

Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord 

Mass from St. Joseph Cathedral with Bishop Michael Duca

Sunday, April 5, 2020

10:30 a.m., and repeated at Noon, 4:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

Holy Thursday of the Lord’s Supper

Mass from St. Joseph Cathedral with Bishop Michael Duca

Thursday April 9, 2020

6:00 p.m.

Friday of the Passion of the Lord (Good Friday)

From St. Joseph Cathedral with Bishop Michael Duca

3:00 p.m.

The Easter Vigil of the Holy Night (Holy Saturday)

Mass from St. Joseph Cathedral with Bishop Michael Duca

Saturday, April 11, 2020

8:00 p.m.

Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of the Lord

Mass from St. Joseph Cathedral with Bishop Michael Duca

Sunday, April 12, 2020

10:30 a.m., and repeated at Noon, 4:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

CatholicLife TV Schedule

  • Cox Cable Ch. 15 (Baton Rouge)
  • Spectrum/Charter Cable Ch. 198 (Hammond)
  • Spectrum/Charter Cable Ch. 10 (St. James Civil Parish)
  • Fidelity Cable Ch. 14 (New Roads)
  • Also available on YouTube, Roku and Facebook