Observing Holy Week during the COVID-19 outbreak

Christians around the world are observing Lent differently because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Three ecumenical councils worked together to provide ideas and guidelines for Christians to celebrate Holy Week and bear witness to the resurrection while staying at home.

Read and share this ecumenical letter with ideas for you to observe Holy Week. 

About Lent

The word Lent is derived from the Anglo-Saxon word for springtime, which literally translates in modern English to “the lengthening of the days.” In the early church, the Lenten period was used as a time for preparing new converts for Baptism on Easter Sunday. Today it is a time for preparation, reflection, growth, and change. The liturgical color for Lent is purple, a solemn color, a color for royalty and repentance. The liturgical color for Easter Sunday and the Sundays between Easter and Pentecost is white, signifying purity.

When is Lent?

The liturgical season of Lent begins with the solemn observance of Ash Wednesday and continues for six weeks, culminating with the church’s joyous celebration of Easter.

What is Holy Week?

Holy Week is the last week of Lent. During this week, Christians remember important events in the last days of Jesus’s life, his death on the cross, and his resurrection from the dead.

Important Events during Lent

  • Ash Wednesday: official beginning of the Lenten season. It is a day of prayer and public confession of sins.
  • Palm Sunday: a day of change from the joyful celebration of Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem to the solemn knowledge of what lies ahead for him in the coming wee
  • Maundy Thursday: focuses on the Lord’s Supper and the new commandment to love one another.
  • Good Friday: on this day we remember Christ’s suffering and death on the cross.
  • Easter Sunday: celebration of Christ’s resurrection from the dead.

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