By Marian Duggan
Holy Week is the busiest time in the Church’s calendar but priests’ preparations have been thrown into disarray due to the Covid-19 outbreak.
Obviously, there will be no washing of the feet on Holy Thursday, no kissing of the cross on Good Friday, no Easter fires outside churches on Holy Saturday and no vast congregations on Easter Sunday.
Despite the fact that church pews will be empty at a time that usually attracts the largest numbers, priests across the region are asking people to get involved in the ceremonies, which will be broadcast online.
Last weekend Ballyhaunis’ parish priest Fr Stephen Farragher asked people to place a sprig of palm on their front door or window sill instead of being at church for the blessing on Palm Sunday.
Knock rector Fr Richard Gibbons has suggested that for Good Friday, families have a crucifix ready for the Passion at 3pm so they can venerate the cross with him, to light a candle at the same time he lights the Easter Candle for the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday and leave it lighting for the Mass.
“Please keep safe and adhere to all that is being asked of you at this time for your own sake and the sake of the ones we love. In Knock, we are praying with you and for you all the time and know that all will be well. Until we meet in person, may our Lady of Knock, St Joseph, and St John protect you all,” said Fr Gibbons.
Thousands have been tuning into Mass from churches across the country every day with Knock Shrine having 75,000 virtual parishioners every weekend.