Ok, I have a confession to make … I sat down to write a brief guide to this week, and as I started to research a bit for some good ways I ran into this absolutely awesome column explaining the whole week, day by day – a great overview.
I just had to start laughing, because the author of this column was none other than Archbishop Burke … we are just so blessed. In any case, here’s his request:
As your shepherd, I close with the simple request that you make careful plans to participate in the sacred liturgies of Holy Week, especially of the Sacred Triduum, and to mark the days of Holy Week with special prayer and devotion. May we keep company with Christ with deepest faith, hope and love during these holiest of days of the Church Year.
With this in mind, I’ll quote some key points from the column:
Next week, we celebrate the holiest week of the Church Year, the week in which God the Son Incarnate, our Lord Jesus Christ, endured His cruel Passion and Death for love of us, the week in which Christ won eternal salvation for us. After Palm Sunday, each day of Holy Week is called holy, except Good Friday, which is called “good” because it is the day when Christ saved us from our sins and restored our communion with God the Father…
… Too easily, we may permit the busyness of our lives to keep us from the Christian celebration of Holy Week. Our love of Christ and our communion with Him, however, draw us to observe Holy Week by giving our heartfelt participation to the Sacred Liturgy and by setting aside times of silence and prayer at home or in visits before the Blessed Sacrament.
… For all, time spent each day in prayer and devotion, meditating upon the Passion of our Lord, will help us to be with our Lord during these holiest of days.
On Holy Thursday at 10 a.m. in the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, I, together with the priests of the archdiocese, will offer the Chrism Mass … It is a truly a celebration of the mystery of our salvation in our Lord Jesus Christ Who encounters us in the Sacraments.
In the evening, we gather at the altar of our Lord’s Sacrifice to celebrate the institution of the Holy Eucharist and of the Holy Priesthood. The Rite of Washing the Feet symbolizes in a striking way the depth of our Lord’s love of us and our share in the mystery of His love.
Holy Thursday is also a day for us to pray in gratitude to God for the high priesthood of our Lord Jesus Christ in which He calls our priests to share for the sake of shepherding us along the way of our earthly pilgrimage.
Around 3 p.m. on Good Friday, we solemnly celebrate our Lord’s Passion and Death. We begin with the Liturgy of the Word, the heart of which is the proclamation of the Passion from the Gospels. After the homily, the Liturgy of the Word concludes with the General Intercessions for the needs of the universal Church and of the world.
Good Friday is a day of abstinence and fasting. It is day when we should observe periods of silence, remembering the Passion and Death of our Lord.
The Easter Vigil
The Sacred Triduum concludes and the Easter Season begins with the celebration of the Easter Vigil. The rite for the Easter Vigil is the richest and most beautiful of all liturgical celebrations of the Church Year.
Nine readings, seven from the Old Testament and two from the New Testament, are provided that we may receive a truly full instruction on the mystery of our salvation in Jesus Christ.
The third part of the Easter Vigil is the Liturgy of Baptism, during which we witness the lasting fruit of Christ’s Passion, Death and Resurrection in the baptism of catechumens, and in the conferral of Confirmation and the reception of First Holy Communion for both the newly baptized and those who are being received in the full communion of the Catholic Church.
The final part of the Easter Vigil is the Liturgy of the Eucharist. As Christ commanded us at the Last Supper, we offer the Eucharistic Sacrifice in which His greatest act of love is made present for us.
All the mysteries of our faith come together this week … and like all mysteries, the more that you open up to God the deeper you’ll go … so here’s to taking some new steps this Holy Week!
The first picture is a wood carving from the Montalvo Brothers of Lima, Peru. We are blessed to have one in our house.