FR. MICHAEL says…………..
THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT:
Practices for Altar Servers scheduled for Holy Week at Blessed Sacrament:
Please make every attempt to attend the practice for the Mass/service you are scheduled for during Holy Week!
We’ve finally come to it - Holy Week! This week we celebrate the central events of our Catholic faith; and we do it with some of the most beautiful and meaningful liturgies.
After starting with Palm Sunday, when we remember Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem - the same place where He will be - rejected, condemned, and crucified - the Church (at least in our diocese) first celebrates the Chrism Mass.
This is a mass where the bishop, surrounded by the priests of his diocese, blesses the holy oils which will be used for baptisms, confirmations, ordinations, and the anointing of the sick for the next year. The priests of the diocese also renew the promises they made at their ordinations.
On Wednesday, we will be introducing a new event to Holy Week in Wintersville: a Tenebrae Service. Tenebrae, (which is Latin for “darkness,”) is a service of readings and hymns that go along with candles being extinguished and the church becoming darker and darker. This will be my first time experiencing Tenebrae. I look forward to it as a prayerful way to enter the Easter Triduum and encourage you to participate as well.
Holy Thursday marks the end of Lent and the beginning of the Triduum starting with the evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper. This liturgy takes us back to Jesus instituting the Eucharist just before His passion. It also commemorates Jesus’ command to the Apostles of "I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.”Usually, this is then made clear by the celebrant washing a number of parishioners’ feet. Mass on Holy Thursday ends with a solemn procession of the Eucharist to a chapel of repose and the altar and sanctuary being stripped. (In our church, the “cry room” will be used.) The church will then remain open for adoration until midnight.
Good Friday is the only day of the year when mass is not celebrated. What we do to celebrate is the Lord’s Passion with the Veneration of the Cross followed by receiving Communion which was consecrated the previous day. This service also has a set of petitions in which we pray for the whole world.
The Easter Triduum culminates on Saturday night with the Easter Vigil, the greatest liturgy of the year! While it may be lengthy (and it will be this year as we read all of the readings and welcome a young woman into the Church through baptism, confirmation, and her first Communion! ), it will also be very beautiful.
The Vigil starts outside with the Easter fire and the blessing of the Easter candle. We will hear the Exsultet sung, listen to the story of salvation history through the readings, renew our own baptismal promises, and finally enter into the Eucharistic prayer - all with the joy of coming to Easter Sunday.
I encourage all of you to take part in these beautiful liturgies. Easter is so much more than eggs and candy - or even just finishing Lent. We are celebrating Jesus’ resurrection - the cause of our hope!! I look forward to seeing you all this week.