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Yes to religious processions, including the next one on Good Friday, but with great caution.
This is what the archbishop of Palermo Corrado Lorefice wrote to the Confraternities: “The cessation of the state of emergency does not in fact coincide with a complete overcoming of the pandemic crisis – reads the letter from the high prelate -.
The rise of infections, especially in our island, forces us not to let our guard down and to act with extreme caution and prudence.
If the government protocols no longer provide for the severe restrictions of the past months, this does not mean that we can imprudently return to the habits of the past ”.
Here are the indications of the head of the Palermo church in view of the Easter celebrations.
For the evening of Holy Thursday, the day on which the church celebrates the mystery of the Eucharist, it is recommended to avoid anything that conflicts with the spirit of this celebration and unduly anticipates aspects of Good Friday, such as the procession of Christ to the column with related dramatizations and accompaniment of musical bands performing funeral marches.
On Good Friday, the start of the procession must be planned in such a way as to give the opportunity to participate earlier, in the authorized parishes and churches, in the celebration of the Lord’s Passion.
Likewise, we are urged to provide for the return no later than 11.30 pm.
The processional path must be studied so that it is easy and without sudden deviations with itineraries within the boundaries of the parish territory.
“If for carefully considered pastoral reasons – Lorefice specifies – the passage to the territory of another parish is required, this should always be done after hearing the parish priest of the latter and having explicit authorization from him”.
Short procession routes
The archbishop then recommends short processional paths, able to symbolically touch the main streets of the district.
No to “useless and senseless slowdowns” that prolong and weigh down the procession, so as to avoid that the fercoli with the simulacra remain for long stretches without the participation of the faithful.
As for the processional fercoli, they must always be decorated with sobriety and decorum.
You will not be able to affix paper money and valuables on them, much less on sacred images.
“Of fundamental importance – specifies the bishop – remains the animation of the procession.
Only one musical band should be foreseen, it is really a sign of waste to have more than one, in order to alternate with the band marches songs and prayers that help the faithful to maintain a spiritual and prayerful atmosphere.
To this end, a good amplification system should be provided to encourage the participation of the faithful in moments of singing, reflection and prayer ”.
No to performances before mass
The bishop of Palermo then, with regard to “representations” or “dramatizations” of the Passion, recalls that they are not a substitute for the celebration of Good Friday: “Avoid – he always writes – that they take place before the procession: eventually another is destined for them.
Efforts should be made to ensure that the processions themselves are not thought of as an alternative to the liturgy and that they do not take on forms of spectacle, with the inclusion of scenic elements that distract and inappropriate duplicates, such as small simulacra, the so-called ‘varicedde’ .
The ‘encounters’ between the dead Christ and the Addolorata, which are not congruent with the spirit of the sacred action, are therefore considered inappropriate.
Taking into account the particular moment, great care must still be taken to maintain every hygienic-sanitary precaution, dictated above all by common sense “.
Thinking of the Ukrainian people
“As a concrete gesture of compassion with the Ukrainian people – Corrado Lorefice explains -, the bishops invite everyone to avoid fires or so-called ‘pyrotechnic bombs’ for the upcoming Easter holidays.
As a concrete sign of solidarity, we invite you to convert the price of the fireworks into humanitarian aid to the refugees who will be welcomed in our dioceses and in our cities ”.
And in the message to the brotherhoods, delivered by the Sicilian bishops to the 1,053 associations of the island, echoing the Pope’s voice, the Bishops express themselves: “We live this personal and community journey of conversion, prayer and sharing of our experiences.
May this time help us to revisit, in our community and personal memory, the faith that comes from the paschal mystery of Jesus Christ who died and rose again, hope animated by the breath of the Spirit and love, whose inexhaustible source is the merciful heart of the Father.