KENYA: Bishops Issue Guidelines for Holy Week Celebrations

By Wairimu Ruth

NAIROBI, MARCH 19, 2021 (CISA) – The Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) has issued pastoral guidelines on liturgical celebrations during the Holy Week acknowledging changes that have come with Covid-19 pandemic.

“We realize that we have not come to a hundred percent attendance, and we must still adhere to the guidelines on Opening of places of Worship as well as the Ministry of health containment measures in force across the Country. Due to this reality, we are giving some indications,” reads a March 16 statement signed by Most Rev Philip Anyolo, Chairman of KCCB and Archbishop of Kisumu Archdiocese.

KCCB has said there will be no long processions for the palm Sunday, “It is important that the commemoration of the Lord’s Entrance into Jerusalem be celebrated within the sacred buildings; in both the Cathedrals Churches and Parish Churches the second and the third form given in the Roman Missal is to be used.”

According to the guidelines, Chrism Mass can be celebrated with representatives of the Clergy where the space does not allow big numbers to participate. It may also be celebrated in an open area, with a minimal attendance of faithful.

“At the end of the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, the procession will be omitted and the Blessed Sacrament is to be kept in the Tabernacle. On this day, the faculty to celebrate Mass in a suitable place, without the presence of the people, can be exceptionally be granted to all priests,” the bishops said while announcing the omission of washing of feet on Holy Thursday.

On Good Friday the Way of the Cross may take place within the sacred buildings, “The adoration of the Cross by kissing it shall be limited solely to the celebrant. We will still not have the usual public Way of the Cross processions, that involve many faithful.”

The KCCB has encouraged only the renewal of Baptismal Promise for the Baptismal Liturgy and said that the Easter Vigil is to be celebrated in the Cathedral and Parish Churches.

“No official Church activity should be scheduled within the curfew hours. It is not wise to unnecessarily expose ourselves and our parishioners to harassment and complaint from civil authority,” the KCCB said adding that no Vigil Masses should be celebrated in the night and if the Local Ordinary allows they should end by 8.00pm.

“As a Conference, we continue to urge you to pray for this pandemic to come to an end as we wait for further guidance from KCCB. We thank you for responding in a pastoral manner to a rapidly changing situation over the past year. It is our hope that we will return to our normal Liturgy very soon,” KCCB added further encouraging faithful to adhere to guidelines issued earlier by the Church and Ministry of Health.

The Holy Week will begin on Sunday, March 28 to Saturday, April 3 marking the end of Lent season.