As we approach the end of the Season of Lent, we reach the high point of the Church’s year in Holy Week. During Holy Week we follow the lead up to Christ’s Passion, Death and Resurrection in the events of the Sacred Triduum – the ‘Great/Holy Three Days’. The week starts with Palm Sunday, which this year falls on April 14th, when we follow Jesus into Jerusalem and greet him with Hosanna’s and the waving of Palms.
Maundy Thursday, Good Friday & Holy Saturday form one great ceremony within the Catholic calendar, the summit of the Liturgical cycle and prepare us for the great celebration of Easter. On the Thursday (April 18th) the Church joins the Lord in the Upper Room with his disciples in the Mass of the Lord’s Supper. During the Mass the traditional Washing of the Feet may take place. After the Mass, the church is stripped of all decoration and the Blessed Sacrament removed as the Lord is taken away from the Garden by the Jewish authorities.
Good Friday (April 19th) is a stark and solemn day. The day the Lord died on the Cross for our Redemption. This is the one day of the year the Sacrifice of the Mass is not offered. Instead we gather in mourning and venerate the Cross … a sign of contradiction and a stumbling block for the world (1Cor 1:23) … but a sign of hope and salvation for Christians. We hear the account of the Lord’s death upon the cross, and we receive his Body in Holy Communion.
Holy Saturday (April 20th) is a quiet day … the Earth is still as the Saviour lays in the tomb. As darkness falls we gather as hope seems lost, and we bless a great fire and light the Paschal Candle from it. Following the candle in great procession the light of the candle permeates the church as Christ the Light of the World rises from the tomb. Easter and the victory over sin and death have come.
The three Great Days form one liturgical celebration and Catholics are actively encouraged to take part in the three major ceremonies … the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, Celebration of the Lord’s Passion and the Easter Vigil. Join us for this great an solemn period. Times of the liturgy in various churches, as they are confirmed, may be found below. Simply click on the location to find service times and access maps.