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Cardinal Blase Cupich Cancels Holy Week Celebrations Over Coronavirus Concerns

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A week after suspending mass at all Catholic churches in Cook and Lake counties, and closing all Catholic schools in the Chicago Archdiocese, Cardinal Blase Cupich is halting all public Holy Week celebrations due to coronavirus concerns.

Cupich has ordered all parishes in the Chicago Archdiocese not to hold any public celebrations on Palm Sunday (April 5) or the rest of Holy Week, including Chrism Mass on Holy Thursday (April 9), Stations of the Cross on Good Friday (April 10), or the annual Day of Reflection. Communion also is not to be served.

If priests bless palms in private for Palm Sunday, they may be distributed at a later date once the COVID-19 crisis passes.

Easter sacraments for confirmation candidates and Christian converts are to be postponed. Holy oils also will not be distributed until the health crisis is over.

For Holy Thursday, the cardinal and the auxiliary bishops will celebrate the Mass of the Lord's Supper at Holy Name Cathedral without a congregation, and live-stream the event on the archdiocese website. If any parishes celebrate Holy Thursday in private, priests are not to perform the ceremonial washing of the feet.

Cupich and the auxiliary bishops also will celebrate the Liturgy of the Lord's Passion on Good Friday and the Easter Vigil on Easter Sunday (April 12) at Holy Name Cathedral, without a congregation. Those also will be live-streamed.

The archdiocese also is reminding parishes not to allow any gatherings of more than 10 people inside or outside Catholic churches, to practice social distancing for any other gatherings, and to clean and disinfect churches after use.

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