Coronavirus Advisory

Holy Week Directives

Given from Savannah, GA on March 26, 2020.

General Notes

  • The public celebration of Holy Mass was suspended until April 5 with the hope that we could celebrate Holy Week and the Sacred Triduum with our people: unfortunately, we are unable to do this. The public celebration of Mass will continue to be suspended through Holy Week until notice is given that the faithful may again attend mass.
  • If needed, a lector, server or musician may be present if proper social distancing can occur and they are not forced to violate any local protocol (e.g., shelter in place/shelter at home).
  • It is understood that parishes with multiple priests will be concelebrating the liturgies.
  • Deacons may also serve if they are agreeable to it and if the local pastor requests it.


Palm Sunday mass will not be celebrated publicly.

  • The faithful derive great consolation from the possession of the blessed palms: this sacramental is a reminder of the Lord’s Passion and is a sign of God’s providential care against danger.
  • Please do not cancel your orders for palms, nor leave the palms out for people to pick them up. Rather, because of concerns for people handling the palms, determine a way to distribute them that would take this into account.
  • Since there will be no public celebration, the option for a procession is not to be used. The Second Form (The Solemn Entrance) or the Third Form (The Simple Entrance) is to be used.


  • Bishop Hartmayer will celebrate this mass at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist at 7:00 PM as scheduled. Because of the extraordinary circumstances we are facing, neither the faithful nor the priests of the diocese will be present.
  • The Bishop asks that every priest watch the live stream of the mass, as he intends to address all priests especially. He will also conduct the renewal of promises for priests: all watching via live stream will be asked to renew them verbally in the spirit in which they celebrate the Holy Mass.
  • The Sacred Oils will be consecrated. At a future date, each parish is required to come to the Cathedral to fill their parish oil stocks. In the meantime, parishes should use the oils consecrated at the Chrism Mass of 2019.
  • Should a priest run low on either the Oil of the Infirmed or the Oil of Catechumens, he should bless new oil according to the formula given in the Rite of the Anointing of the Sick and the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults, respectively.


The Mass of the Lord’s Supper will not be celebrated publicly.

In the Directives given by the Holy See the following are in effect:
  • The washing of the feet, which is already optional, is to be omitted.
  • There is to be no procession to an altar of repose. Rather, the Blessed Sacrament is to be placed in the normal tabernacle of the church.


The Good Friday liturgy of the Passion of the Lord will not be celebrated publicly.

  • The following will be added as Intention XI, per rubric no. 13:

    XI. For the End of the Coronavirus/COVID-19 Pandemic:

    Let us pray, dearly beloved, to God the Father Almighty, that he may raise his mighty hand to stop the spread of the coronavirus, strengthen medical professionals and first responders, grant wisdom to those making decisions for the public welfare, and restore the sick and those who are afraid to health and peace.

    Pray in Silence. Then the Priest says:

    Almighty ever-living God, we beg you to hear us as we devoutly raise our petitions to you, and graciously turn away the pandemic of disease that afflicts us; so that mortal hearts may recognize that these scourges proceed from sin that sickens us and cease only when we implore your divine mercy. Through Christ our Lord. (Based on the Roman Ritual IX.X, “Prayer in time of Epidemics”)

  • If live streaming the Liturgy, please keep the invitations “let us pray/let us kneel/let us stand” so that active engagement in the liturgy from those participating may be enjoyed.
  • The Veneration of the Cross should be done with only the celebrant kissing the cross. All others who adore the cross should genuflect or bow to the cross. At home, the faithful should be encouraged to venerate the cross in like manner by genuflecting or a bowing as someone holds it or as it hangs on the wall.
  • After Holy Communion, lead all in a prayer of Spiritual Communion.
  • If it is possible, live stream the Cross with the candles for a period of time after the Liturgy.


The Easter Vigil will not be celebrated publicly.

  • There will be no baptisms or receptions into full communion at the Easter Vigil. The Pastor is to defer these to a time within the Easter Season. (Bishop Hartmayer suggests the deferral to Pentecost, which is May 31, 2020.)
  • The Easter Vigil should be celebrated in the manner described in the Roman Missal in the best way possible according to the following norms from the Holy See:
  • The Blessing of the Easter Fire and the preparation of the Paschal Candle are to be omitted. The candle is lit. There is no procession. The Exsultet is sung.
  • The Blessing of the Water and the renewal of the Baptismal Promises are retained.
  • If possible, bless an abundance of Holy Water so the faithful can come and take some home in the days following the Easter celebration.


Easter Sunday Mass will not be celebrated publicly.