Holy Week 2017
Today, Passion (Palm) Sunday, marks the beginning of Holy Week, the most sacred week of the Church year.
As the Church, we enter into the mystery of our redemption and give witness to our faith, our hope, who we are, and who we are called to be.
On Passion (Palm) Sunday, we begin by recalling how Jesus, hailed by the crowds, entered Jerusalem. The mood of the liturgy shifts swiftly as we proclaim the Passion Narrative of the Gospel According to Matthew and recall how Jesus suffered and died for us.
On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of Holy Week the Gospels at our daily Masses recall the events leading up to the Passion. We hear of the plotting against Jesus and the plan to destroy him. Judas Iscariot and Peter figure prominently in these accounts leading us to reflect on how we, like them, betray and deny Jesus in our actions.
On Monday afternoon and evening, from 3:00PM until 8:00PM in the Church, we will give people the opportunity to celebrate the sacrament of reconciliation individually.
On Tuesday we will celebrate a “No Questions Asked” format Penance service at 7:30PM.
On Wednesday evening, at 7:30PM, there will be a Tenebrae Service. In this ancient, solemn service we prayerfully reflect upon the events that took place between Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem and his burial on Good Friday.
On Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday, at 8:30AM, all are invited to join in the communal celebration of Morning Prayer. The psalms, the reading, and reflection set the tone for each of these solemn days. Lent ends on Holy Thursday evening at Evening Prayer.
The Easter Triduum (the Easter Three Days) begins on Holy Thursday evening with the Celebration of the Mass of the Lord’s Supper when we recall how Jesus gave us the gift of the Eucharist. We remember how Jesus washed the feet of his disciples and told them, and us, to do the same. At the conclusion of the liturgy, we process from the Church to the auditorium, retracing the steps of Jesus as he went to Gethsemane. The auditorium will be open for quiet prayer until midnight, giving all the chance to come and pray.
On Good Friday, we celebrate the Liturgy of the Passion and Death of the Lord at 3:00PM and 7:30PM.
In this starkly simple, moving service, we proclaim the Passion of the Gospel According to John, solemnly venerate the Cross, and receive Communion.
On Holy Saturday evening the celebration of Easter begins with the Easter Vigil at 7:30PM. This is the most important liturgy of the Church year, when we proclaim the Resurrection of Christ, that the Light of Christ has overcome the power of death. At the Vigil, and at all the Easter Masses, we will be invited to renew our baptismal commitment.
I hope that many of you will be able to join us this Holy Week. May God bless you all in these days.