HOLY WEEK

During Holy Week we celebrate the Paschal Mystery - the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus beginning with Palm Sunday and concluding with the Triduum - Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter.  During the Triduum we celebrate the core mystery of our Christian faith and our own participation in this mystery.

 

Holy Thursday - Mass of the Lord's Supper

Holy Thursday is the commemoration of the Last Supper of Jesus Christ when he established the sacrament of Holy Communion and instituted the priesthood with the words “Do this in memory of me.”  Jesus celebrated the dinner as a Passover feast and redefined Himself as the spotless sacrificial lamb. Unique to Holy Thursday is the ritual reenactment of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples.
In churches all around the world, parishioners who represent various ministries will have their feet washed. At the end of the Holy Thursday liturgy, the Blessed Sacrament is processed throughout the church (sometimes it is processed outside) and is then placed in a side tabernacle where it remains for parishioners to adore.

 

Good Friday of the Lord's Passion

Good Friday is the day Catholics commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. It is a day of fasting and it is the only day of the year when Mass is not celebrated. Church bells are silent, altars are left bare and the main tabernacle is empty and open. On Good Friday Jesus was denied by Peter, was arrested, scourged, and crucified for proclaiming Himself to be the King of the Jews. Inscribed on the plaque above his cross was "Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews." It is commonly abbreviated in Latin as "INRI" (Iesus Nazarenus, Rex Iudaeorum). During this liturgy we participate in the Veneration of the Cross. In kissing the cross we are paying the highest honor to our Lord's cross as the instrument of our salvation. Because the Cross is inseparable from His sacrifice, in reverencing His Cross we are adoring Christ.


Easter Vigil

The blessing of the Easter Fire begins this celebration. From that fire, the large Paschal Candle is lit, and from this candle we pass the flame to everyone in the church.  The moment when the church is aglow is truly a mystical experience. The church bells ring proudly during the Gloria to proclaim that Christ is risen. We bless the waters of the baptismal font and members of our RCIA program then receive the Sacraments of Baptism, First Communion and Confirmation. The whole community joins in renewing our promises and then we are sprinkled with water to remind us of our own baptism. We conclude this joyous celebration of Christ’s resurrection by singing “Alleluia” which means “God be praised.”