penitents. But others have set this difficulty aside in order to give their parishioners the chance to take part in the liturgical ushering-in of Easter.
This particular point is actually answered by the new edition of the Ordo Sahhati Sancti, in a chapter which clears up certain doubts and misgivings of the kind that were brought to the notice of the Sacred Congregation.
In order not to deprive people of the opportunity of Confession, and yet so as not to hold up the ceremonies, priests are recommended to "stagger " the hours of hearing confessions over several days.
The new edition also includes an outline of the ceremony with a view to its celebration by one priest, assisted by picked altar servers. By a special indult of the Holy Father, priests who in the ordinary way have to say two or three Masses —sometimes travelling long distances to do so—may break their fast up to an hour before they offer the Mass. As regards reception of Holy Communion, the same rule applies as in the case of Midnight Mass at Christmas. No person may approach the altar rails more than once in the 24 hours. Thus, anyone who receives Holy Communion at the Holy Saturday morning celebrations is debarred from receiving again in a church where the Night Vigil takes place before midnight. Only if there are " grave and special reasons" for doing so may the hour of the ceremonies he put back to " before 8 o'clock in the evening."
Fr. Antonefle of the Sacred Congregation's historical section, recently commented on the changes in the rites in the Osservatore Romano: "The rite as such stiffens no modification. It rests on the best liturgical tradition. and it proves itself a really efficacious means of helping the faithful to understand and relive the mysteries of Easter by taking part in the sacred functions, not as onlookers hut as real participants."