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Diocese lifts some restrictions this Holy Week

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In response to dropping COVID-19 cases and increased vaccinations, Bishop Michael F. Burbidge has removed some pandemic-related restrictions ahead of the Holy Week liturgies. “Just as our commonwealth is lifting some protocols, so are we here in the Diocese of Arlington,” he said during his March 25 “Walk Humbly Podcast.”

According to the new guidelines, pastors may return missalettes and hymnals to pews. Palms can be distributed and blessed on Palm Sunday. The washing of the feet may take place during Mass on Holy Thursday. On Good Friday, individuals can venerate the crucifix by genuflecting, though not kissing. At the Easter Vigil Mass, catechumens can be baptized and confirmed. Scholas, or choirs, of no more than eight socially distanced people can sing during Mass. 

However, the diocese will continue encouraging parishioners to wear masks and social distance during Mass. The Holy Week liturgies at the Cathedral of St. Thomas More in Arlington are open to pre-registered attendees, except the Chrism Mass, which will be livestreamed at 10:30 a.m. on April 1. 

As the pandemic abates, Bishop Burbidge hopes it becomes safe to ease more of the restrictions. “We’re not going to do it overnight, friends, but we’re gradually lifting some of these restrictions and we’re getting there,” he said. “It’s a great sign, it’s a sign of hope.”



© Arlington Catholic Herald 2021

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