Dioceses across Southern California are advising parishioners in the days leading up to Holy Week with guidelines on how to observe some of the religion’s most important days of the year. Some traditional events are being canceled or moved online.

For the Los Angeles archdiocese, it’s the first time in its history that its Catholic churches will be closed to the public during Holy Week.

This year, Archbishop Jose Gomez will celebrate Holy Week Masses and liturgies livestreamed from the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. Easter Sunday Masses will be held virtually from the cathedral

For Good Friday, usually the Veneration of the Cross ceremony where people kneel and kiss the cross, instead use a cross at home when the livestream is happening, John Andrews, spokesman for the diocese of San Bernardino, said.

On Holy Thursday, when parishioners usually have their feet washed at Mass, instead have the head of your household wash the feet of the people in your home. Light a wax candle in your home on Holy Saturday at the same time the Paschal candle is being lit during the online streaming, Andrews suggested.

People could gather green branches from their homes, hold them up when the branches are blessed in the televised Masses, sprinkle them with water and display them in their homes with a cross – or display them on their front doors as a witness, he said.

For now, the first communion that happens on Holy Saturday will be on hold.

“Those are public events. You can’t really do it, you can’t livestream that,” he said.

Among the guidelines the Los Angeles archdiocese sent out this week for priests and parishioners is that Chrism Mass will not be celebrated on Holy Thursday, but on Monday, April 6. The Mass will be streamed from the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels’ Facebook page.

Priests may bless palms at their parishes and the blessing of the Holy Oils for the year 2020 will take place at 7 p.m. on Monday during a livestreamed ceremony.

The traditional washing of the feet that takes place on Holy Thursday will be omitted this year, and on Good Friday, to express reverence to the cross without kissing or touching it, a “genuflection or profound bow would be appropriate,” the guidelines say.

The annual Blessing of the Animals Celebration usually presided by Gomez at Olvera Street has been postponed.

The Orange diocese is also adjusting its regular worship this year.

In preparation for Easter and for a swift end to the pandemic, Bishop Kevin Vann prays the Rosary in front of the mosaic of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Christ Cathedral on Tuesdays at 4 p.m. The Rosary is livestreamed for Catholics to participate, Kincaid said.

For more information on the San Bernadino diocese full schedule and guidelines go to: sbdiocese.org. 

For the schedule for livestreaming from the Orange diocese, go to: parish.christcathedralcalifornia.org/livestream/

For a schedule for the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, go tolacatholics.org/mass-for-the-homebound.

The above comes from an April 3 story in the Orange County Register.