LENT AND HOLY WEEK
Veiling of Statues and Crosses: The rubric in the Roman Missal on the Fifth Sunday of Lent reads, “the practice of covering crosses and images throughout the church from this Sunday [the Fifth Sunday of Lent] may be observed. Crosses remain covered until the end of the Celebration of the Lord’s Passion on Good Friday, but images remain covered until the beginning of the Easter Vigil.”
Holy Thursday Washing of Feet: Whereas the rubric in the Roman Missal specifying who may participate in the Washing of Feet on Holy Thursday reads viri (“men,” that is males) and has been understood to refer to adult men and boys, the Holy Father, as you may have heard, has decided to alter the rubric. According to the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, those who may be included in the footwashing ritual are “men and women, and ideally of the young and the old, healthy and sick, clerics, consecrated persons and laypeople.” In light of this broadening of the rubric it is good to keep in mind that those who participate in the footwashing should represent a cross-section of all parishioners, taking care to be cognizant not only of ages, genders and people at various levels of physical ability, but also of whatever variety of ethnic groups is present in a given parish.
Adoration of the Holy Cross on Good Friday: Both the rubrics in the Roman Missal and the GIRM consistently use the term “cross” (not crucifix) as the object of adoration. The tradition of venerating the cross dates back to the fourth century and is ultimately associated with St. Helena’s finding of the true cross. Eventually the practice of venerating the cross made its way into the Good Friday liturgy. Originally it was a relic of the true cross which was venerated. It is important to keep in mind that we celebrate Good Friday with Easter in mind. The adoration of the cross alone (without a corpus on it) takes us from the symbol of the tree on which Jesus was crucified to the cross that stands bare at Easter, the cross from which Jesus is freed.
With that said, Built of Living Stones #83 states, “After the proclamation of the passion and the General Intercessions, the entire assembly rises to venerate the cross or crucifix.” What all this means is that the symbolism and history of the ritual support the use of a cross without a corpus, but the use of a crucifix (a Medieval invention) is not expressly prohibited.
However, what is clear is that only one cross is to be used for the adoration.