HOLY WEEK & PASCHAL TRIDUUM
Today we celebrate Palm Sunday, and we begin the holiest week of the entire year. Later this week we will celebrate a group of days known as The Triduum. It begins on Holy Thursday evening with the Mass of the Lord’s Supper and concludes in the evening of Easter Sunday. Even though we will not be able to celebrate these holy days together, we can still make them special by celebrating them in a unique way. The time for each liturgy will be listed below. I encourage everyone to take time to pray at those times. If you are able, I encourage you to watch the liturgies on TV or on my live stream on my Facebook page www.facebook.com/fatherjoseph.sobolik.
PALM SUNDAY (9 AM)
This Mass can be seen as having three parts. The first is the blessing of the palms and the reading of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem (Mt 21:1-11). The second is Liturgy of the Word where we hear the readings, including the Passion Narrative (Mt 26:14-27:66). Third is the Liturgy of the Eucharist like a normal Mass. If you cannot watch a Mass online or on TV, I encourage you to get your bible out and read the “Entry” and the “Passion” readings on your own.
HOLY THURSDAY – MASS OF THE LORD’S SUPPER (7 PM)
We are commemorating three principle mysteries here: the institution of the Eucharist; the institution of priestly orders; and the commandment to fraternal charity. The Gospel is the passage where Jesus washes His Apostles’ feet (Jn 13:1-15). Normally, the priest washes the feet of some people, to symbolize doing what Christ did. Mass continues as usual through Communion. Traditionally, Catholics take time to pray before the Blessed Sacrament after Holy Thursday Mass. The Church will be closed after Mass this year, but you can still pray in either Church any day of the week 9 AM until 7 PM. Read the readings for today or pray a rosary.
GOOD FRIDAY (3 PM)
This liturgy is really quite simple, but also profound. It is traditionally celebrated at three in the afternoon because Jesus died at that hour. First is the Liturgy of the Word. We hear the readings and the Passion from John (Jn 18:1-19:42). Second is the Adoration of the Cross. A cross or crucifix is displayed so people can reverence it. The Cross will remain displayed at St. Cecilia’s after the liturgy. All are welcome to come to pray and venerate until 7 PM. Third is Holy Communion. No Eucharistic prayer is said this day. Instead, Communion from Thursday is given to the people. I encourage you to read the Passion from John. Remember that today is a day of fast and abstinence: so no meat and only one main meal with two smaller meals.
HOLY SATURDAY – EASTER VIGIL (9 PM)
This is the greatest celebration of the whole year. It is divided into four parts. First is the Lucernarium or Liturgy of Light. We start in dark Church like a dark tomb. The new Paschal Candle is blessed and lit. The Exultet (Easter proclamation) is sung and the lights are turned on. Second is the Liturgy of the Word. Seven Old Testament Readings are read with psalms and prayers. We hear about Salvation History and why Christ had to die. The Gloria is sung, the altar candles are lit, and a reading from Romans follows. The Alleluia is sung and the Gospel is read with a homily after. The Third part is the Baptismal Liturgy. We will sing the Litany of the Saints (to ask for their prayers) and renew our Baptismal Promises. The fourth part is the Liturgy of the Eucharist, which is the Mass as usual. Easter Sunday (at 9 AM) is Mass as usual, except we sing the Sequence and renew our Baptismal Promises. Try to keep Holy Saturday simple. Christ is still in the tomb at that point. Spend time in prayer and scripture reading. On Sunday, celebrate! Have some good food, contact family and friends. Remind one another that Christ is truly risen!