No chrurch services during Holy Week
The Roman Catholic Church in Belgium has announced that all public religious services will remain suspended until 19 April. The period includes that of the Holy Week, the most important week in the Christian calendar. Churches have been closed for public services for the past 10 days due to the measures designed to curb the spread of COVID -19. Christians are currently observing Lent, the 40 days of fasting prior to Easter.
Initially public religious services at Roman Catholic Churches had been suspended until 3 April. However, in a statement released on Monday morning the Belgian Bishops Conference announced that Catholics will now have to wait another two weeks before they are able to attend Mass at their local (or any other) church again.
The decision means that they will not be able to attend church during the Holy Week and miss out on the series of special church services that this entails. Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Sunday and East Monday will have to be celebrated without attending church.
However, some parishes will live stream services and on Sunday’s those that wish to can watch services on TV or listen to a service on the radio.
Meanwhile, confirmations and first communions that were due take place before 19 April have been postponed.
Under the current measures those that wish to are also unable to attend confession. The Belgian bishops have granted permission for believers' Easter Confessional to be postponed until a later date.
Unless the municipal authorities rule otherwise churches are open for individual prayer.
Funerals can also take place, albeit with only a very small number of people in attendance.