Detailed Liturgical Norms for Public Masses During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Holy Week 2021 Liturgical Directives for the Diocese of Scranton


Regulations for Lent 2021


All faithful of the Diocese of Scranton are reminded of Diocesan Statute No. 41, which addresses the penitential aspect of Lent:

“The season of Lent is penitential in nature and during Lent penance should be not only internal and individual, but also external and social (Sacrosanctum Concilium, No. 5, 109). Pastors are obliged to avoid scheduling activities in the parishes which in any way could possibly detract from the external and social penance required by Lent.”

Ash Wednesday, February 17, 2021, marks the beginning of Lent. The following fast and abstinence regulations are observed:

  • Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, April 2, 2021, are days of fast and abstinence.
  • Fridays during Lent are days of abstinence.
  • All Catholics who have reached their 14th birthday are to abstain from eating meat on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and on all Fridays during Lent.
  • All Catholics over 18 years of age to the beginning of their 60th year are bound to the obligation of fasting. Those bound by this rule may take only one full meal and two smaller meals unless dispensed or excused.

Lenten Reminders

Lent is a time for sacrifice and for spiritual renewal as we reflect upon our baptism and the call given to each of us to walk as disciples of the Lord.

As faithful followers of Jesus, we are traditionally encouraged to honor the sacred season of Lent by embracing the three pillars of Lenten observance:

  • Almsgiving – generously giving to those in need
  • Fasting – practicing self-discipline and self-denial
  • Prayer – reading, hearing and reflecting on the Word of God

Lent is also a penitential season. It is a time to seek forgiveness, to look inward, and to admit our shortcomings and failures. It is a time to regroup and to prepare. How can you spend your time during Lent?

  • By “giving up” things you hunger after, such as sweets or alcohol; or activities you desire, such as vacations, concerts or movies.
  • By “doing” things to help others, such as offering an extra donation to the poor or helping those in need by providing food or clothing.
  • By “adding” to our normal routine, such as going to daily Mass, praying the Stations of the Cross and going to confession.

One of the greatest opportunities given by the Church to assist us in our response to the Lord’s invitation to conversion is found in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Once again, the Diocese of Scranton is participating in The Light Is On for You.

While ensuring that every effort is made to follow safety guidelines during COVID-19 (including proper distancing, masking and sanitization), beginning on the first Monday of Lent, February 22, and continuing through Monday of the last full week of Lent, March 22, confessions will be heard in every parish from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.