Holy Week & Easter 2019
Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
John 11: 25-26
April 14, 2019 - April 21, 2019
Holy Week is a very sacred time of the year as we remember the last week of Jesus' life on this earth. These are the days leading up to Easter. The Lenten season of sacrifice and self-denial is about to come to an end, and the focus of Holy Week is the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ and the events that led up to it.
Palm Sunday is April 14, 2019. This is the day we celebrate Our Lord's triumphant entrance into Jerusalem where he was welcomed by crowds laying down palm leaves before him in adoration and worship. It also marks the beginning of Holy Week.
Here at Saint Gregory the Great we begin Mass outside the church with a procession of palms. The palms are blessed and with great ceremony we process into the church while singing hymns, followed by the celebration of Mass. The Gospel of the Passion is read by three lectors.
The Easter Triduum
The three days prior to and including Easter, which begins with Holy Thursday, followed by Good Friday and the Easter Vigil.
Holy Thursday, April 18th, also known as the Mass of the Lord's Supper. Historically, this is the day when Jesus shared the Last Supper with His apostles, and thereby instituting the Mass in the Eucharist. This is the night when Jesus was betrayed, arrested and tried.
We have a wonderful tradition here at Saint Gregory the Great, where we reenact the washing of feet just as Jesus washed the feet of his apostles. All parishioners that wish to participate, will have their feet washed.
Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament follows the Holy Thursday Mass. This is a day of exceptional devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and the remaining hosts are carried in solemn procession to the altar of repose, which is a richly decorated space reflecting the love and worship of the congregation.
Good Friday of the Lord's Passion, follows on April 19th. On this day we remember Jesus' crucifixion at Calvary on Friday, outside the gates of Jerusalem. He was buried the same day, and arose three days later, on Easter Sunday. All of this is done by our Lord for forgiveness of our sins, and for life everlasting with Him. God so loved us, that He sent His only begotten Son to die for us, so that our sins may be forgiven.
Here too we have a beautiful tradition at Saint Gregory the Great, of venerating the cross as a sign of love and respect for Christ's sacrifice. There is no consecration of the Eucharist on this day, the Communion we receive will be from the night prior which was reserved in the aforementioned altar of repose.
At 3:00 in the afternoon we celebrate Stations of the Cross. This is the hour Jesus is believed to have died.
Holy Saturday is the Easter Vigil, on April 20th. On this day Jesus went down into the netherworld to escort to heaven, those who had died before his coming. Up until this time the gates of heaven were closed due to the original sin of Adam and Eve. We keep the vigil in expectation of the rising of our Savior, who paid the price for our sins on the cross and gained eternal salvation for us.
Holy Saturday is a very joyful night, especially for those in the RCIA process, when after months of preparation, they will be received into the church through the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and First Eucharist. If you have not experienced the Easter Vigil at Saint Gregory the Great, it is truly one of the most beautiful liturgies of the year and one not to be missed.
Easter Sunday, the resurrection of the Lord, is on April 21st and marks the end of Holy Week, the end of Lent and the Last day of the Easter Triduum. It is the beginning of the Easter season of the liturgical year. On this day Jesus Christ rose from the dead, and fulfilled God's promise to mankind. It is the most important holiday for all Catholics. Easter is on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox.
Holy Week and especially the Easter Triduum, are an intense immersion in the fundamental mystery of what it is to be a follower of Christ. When we experience this season, we suffer with Christ so that we might rise with Him at His glorious Resurrection. Our minds and hearts should be fixed on Jesus and how his sacrifice proved to be the greatest example of love that we will ever know.