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Friday, June 2, 2023

Church prepares for Covid-appropriate Easter Holy Week

The Episcopal Conference, which groups the Catholic Church’s leaders in Costa Rica, is preparing faithful for a Covid-appropriate Easter Holy Week.

“We bishops who serve the People of God of Costa Rica want to remind that, in this context of a pandemic that we are still facing, our liturgical celebrations and our acts of piety must be shaped by the authentic charity of those who seek to preserve the lives of their brothers, especially the most vulnerable,” the Episcopal Conference expressed in a document.

Some of the protocols previewed are as follows:

  • On Ash Wednesday, the priest should sprinkle ash on the head of each participant, rather than applying it directly to their forehead.
  • Each priest should limit the number of masses in which they participate.
  • Large processions will remain suspended, as they were last year, since they “generate some degree of risk for the spread of the virus.”
  • Churches should observe the appropriate capacity restrictions for their buildings.
  • It will be “at the discretion of the priest” whether to participate in the Anointing of the Sick.

Ash Wednesday is February 17. Easter Holy Week, or Semana Santa, begins on March 28. Additional guidelines will be issued prior to the holidays, the religious leaders said.

Schools and most businesses close during Semana Santa, which is typically one of the country’s busiest travel holidays. Last year, the Health Ministry applied strict measures during the week to limit mobility because of the coronavirus.

Authorities have not yet announced measures for this Easter.

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