Q: There are seven Old Testament readings for the Easter Vigil with option to narrow the selection to three.
With the current situation of Masses without an assembly, no sacraments of initiation, and the current Decree from Pope Francis omitting the Easter Fire … paragraph 21 speaks of additional special circumstances … for the Easter Vigil, can the number of Old Testament readings be reduced to one?
A: The Vatican has not given permission for fewer than three Old Testament readings. But if you are concerned about the length of the ceremony causing safety concerns in 2020, the liturgy gives you two more options.
One is in paragraph 23 of the Vigil in the Missal, which says that the responsorial psalms may all be replaced with a period of silence. You could then have three Old Testament readings, each followed by silence and the appropriate prayer.
Or you may not celebrate the Easter Vigil at all. You then celebrate the Office of Readings for Easter Sunday.
Whatever you decide, please act responsibly and safely.