The Pleasure of Your Presence is requested at all Holy Weeks services!
Holy Week begins today with Palm or Passion Sunday, the day we celebrate Christ’s triumphant entrance into Jerusalem to accomplish his paschal mystery.
On Tuesday our local diocesan church celebrates the Chrism Mass at Sacred Heart Cathedral. The Chrism Mass is a sign of unity and communion among all the faithful, the priests, Bishop Emeritus Matthew Clark, and Bishop Salvatore Matano. During this Mass, the Holy Oils which will be used throughout the diocese for the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Orders, and Anointing of the Sick are blessed. Please be assured you are welcome to attend this celebration of our diocesan church.
The high point of our liturgical year as Roman Catholics is the Triduum [trih due um] (“The Three Days”) which begins with the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper this Thursday, Holy Thursday, and ends in the evening of Easter Sunday. These days are the culmination of the entire Church year because they celebrate the Paschal Mystery – the suffering, dying, and resurrection of Jesus Christ – which is the basis of our faith.
Holy Thursday Mass opens with the reception of the Holy Oils which were consecrated at the Cathedral on Tuesday. During the reading of the Gospel according to John, we hear about Jesus washing the feet of his disciples. On this night, we wash the feet of our RCIA catechumens and Confirmation candidates and they, in turn, wash our feet, reminding us, “As this is done for you, so you do for others.” Following communion, the Eucharist, which will be shared during the Good Friday liturgy, is taken to the Tabernacle for private adoration until midnight. The altar is stripped and we leave the church in silence. The entire Church has entered her time of mourning.
Good Friday is the most somber day of the Church year. There is no Mass on this day and it is a day for fasting. The Liturgy of the Passion and Death of Our Lord is a simple service of prayer and remembrance. Following the reading of the prophets and the Passion according to John, we pray the Church’s most solemn General Intercessions. Then, a large wooden cross is brought forward and we reverence it with a touch or a kiss. The Good Friday liturgy concludes with a simple communion service. For those who are unable to attend this service, a simple Stations of the Cross are prayed in church in the evening.
Holy Saturday is a day of quiet waiting and preparation for the Easter Vigil, the Liturgy of the Night Watch of the Resurrection of the Lord. The Easter Vigil begins outside in darkness. A new fire is kindled and from it we light the Pascal candle, a symbol of the Risen Christ. As the light of this Pascal candle enters the church, its light spreads to the candles held by each member of the worshiping community. In this light, we keep watch and tell our story – the creation, Abraham’s sacrifice, the parting of the Red Sea. Paul’s letter to the Romans tells us that this is our resurrection night. We joyfully sing “Alleluia,” a word we have not heard during Lent and then the Gospel of the Resurrection is proclaimed: Christ is Risen!
The Easter Triduum is one celebration which continues for three days. We don’t spend all our time in church, but come to church at various times during those days. It has been said that the Triduum is so full of moments that can touch our inner being and move our soul that we would not be able to experience them more than once each year.
Called by your baptism as a child of God, you are invited to experience the Easter Triduum with your Transfiguration family and all Catholics throughout the world. To experience the fullness of the Triduum is to be present for the Mass of the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday, the service on Good Friday, and either the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday evening (hopefully) or Mass on Easter Sunday morning.
Please do all you can to accept this sincere INVITATION.
Let us continue to pray for peace and for the end of terrorism in our world!
In peace and courage,