SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — Nestled in the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the San Francisco Bay Area, the Diocese of San Jose announced Thursday that traditional Holy Week ceremonies will have a definite non-traditional look this year.

All services will be livestream from an empty church and many of the traditional practices — like the Palm Sunday procession by parishioners — will not be held.

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As of Thursday, the surrounding Santa Clara County has had 956 confirmed coronavirus cases and a region-high 32 deaths.

“Although we are unable to come together as a community this year, our parishes are doing their part to help ‘flatten the curve’ by finding creative ways to continue our ministry: livestreaming liturgies, activating phone trees to check on vulnerable parishioners, and offering drive-through Confession and online retreats,” Bishop Oscar Cantú said in a statement.

Traditionally, confess has been a fixture on Good Friday. Confessionals this year will be replaced by automobiles as the services will be held in a drive-thru fashion.

Since March 13, all public masses in the diocese have been suspended in line with the state and county health departments’ stay-at-home orders.

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Bishop Cantu said all Holy Week celebrations will be closed to the public and will be livestreamed. Need modifications of the services have also been made.

There will be no procession, blessing of distribution of the palms this year on Palm Sunday. On Holy Thursday, the tradition of the washing of the feet will also not occur.

Traditionally, during the Easter Vigil (which occurs after sunset), the Easter fire is kindled, and the Paschal candle is blessed and lit—but this year, the lightning of the fire and the procession will be omitted.

Easter Mass will also livestreamed at:

  • 10:00 a.m. Livestream Mass – English with Bishop Oscar Cantú
  • 11:30 a.m. Livestream Mass – Spanish with Bishop Oscar Cantú
  • 1:00 p.m. Livestream Mass – Vietnamese with Father Hao Dinh
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Schedule of the Holy Week Services at parishes across the D