The epidemic caused by SARS-CoV-2 has forced religious authorities in Seville to cancel in advance, by 2021, the processions that are traditionally held in the Andalusian capital during Holy Week.
For several centuries, in Seville, between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday, about sixty penitential confraternities have gone in procession, to retrace the Passion of Christ, consecrating Holy Week as the most important event of the year in the Andalusian capital.
But on December 28, 2020, the Archbishop of Seville, Juan Jose Asenjo, issued a decree ordering the suspension of the processions already planned for the 2021 Paschal Triduum.
Likewise, all celebrations and other activities organized by the confraternities within the parishes have been canceled, due to the Covid-19 epidemic, which once again disrupts the religious life of Spanish Catholics.
“Considering the degree of complexity required by the organization of the traditional manifestations of popular piety planned during Lent and Holy Week, we find ourselves compelled to take extraordinary measures,” writes Bishop Asenjo.
The prelate explains that the civil and health authorities consulted have expressed a severe warning against any large gatherings likely to increase the incidence rate of the epidemic.
Nevertheless, “the celebration of Holy Week is not suppressed,” explains the Archbishop of Seville, who encourages the faithful to “live with a renewed depth and intensity the liturgical celebrations” which should be confined—barring further restrictions—to the inside of churches, and according to the health protocol in force.
A decision that comes a few days after the announcement of the cancellation of the 2021 April Fair which traditionally takes place during Easter time, in Seville: according to data from the Ministry of Health, the rate of immunity to Covid-19 in the city would amount to only 8.9%.
For the months of March and April 2021, forecasts point to an immunity rate of 30%, too far from the level required to take the risk of organizing mass rallies, according to the authorities.
One can only hope that this long trial will rekindle the persuasion of the dependence of our whole life on God in hearts everywhere, and that everyone will entrust themselves to His Omnipotence and to His infinite mercy. And may the Church ring out the appropriate prayers of adoration and supplication.