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Inside the VaticanApril 11, 2020
A image of the Blessed Mother adorns a prayer station set up in the home of parishioners of St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in Bloomington, Ind., who watch Mass livestreamed from their church March 28, 2020. The rapid spread of the coronavirus has caused churches to shut down across the country and forced many Catholics to connect with their faith online. (CNS photo/Katie Rutter) 

Usually, Holy Week doesn’t require any extra work from the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. A separate office organizes the pope’s liturgies, and the guidelines used around the world stay the same from year to year.

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This year, though, with coronavirus bringing the widespread suspension of public Masses, several needs arose that only the Congregation for Divine Worship could respond to: The congregation worked quickly to establish the new Mass in Time of Pandemic, as well as a special intention for the Good Friday liturgy and guidelines for celebrating the Holy Week liturgies without a congregation physically present.

“In this moment of trial, the challenge is to stop the contagion without stopping the prayer,” said Archbishop Arthur Roche, secretary of the congregation.

Archbishop Roche joins me on "Inside the Vatican" for a special Holy Week interview on the Vatican’s response to rapidly changing liturgical needs around the world and his advice for celebrating Holy Week at home.

“Our Catholics are as creative as our priests are, and they won’t let this time pass without celebrating what is the certainty of their faith,” the archbishop said. “In other words, what the Lord has achieved, what he has given to us through his suffering and death on the cross and his resurrection. They’ll celebrate it, I feel quite sure, with deep joy, knowing that we’re safe with the Lord who is with us in our anxiety and in our suffering, because he knew what that was personally.”

Links from the show:

Pope Francis approves new ‘Mass in Time of Pandemic’ and Good Friday coronavirus intention

On Holy Thursday, Pope Francis counsels world’s priests: ‘Take risks for forgiveness’

Pope Francis oversees an emotional Way of the Cross in empty square

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