Saturday, July 13, 2024

Holy Week

What is Holy Week?

Holy Week is an important time for Christians throughout the world. Holy Week, the final week of Lent, begins on Palm Sunday, the Sunday before Easter. Holy Week is a time when Catholics gather to remember and participate in the Passion of Jesus Christ. The Passion was the final period of Christ’s life in Jerusalem. It spans from when He arrived in Jerusalem to when He was crucified.

When Is Holy Week?

Palm SundayCelebrates Jesus’s triumphant entry into JerusalemApril 10, 2022
Holy WeekThe week leading up to EasterApril 10 – April 16, 2022
Maundy ThursdayCommemorates the foot washing and Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the ApostlesApril 14, 2022
Good FridayCommemorates the crucifixion of Jesus and his death at CalvaryApril 15, 2022
Holy SaturdayCommemorates Jesus’ body resting in the tombApril 16, 2022
Easter SundayCelebrates the resurrection of Jesus from the dead and his victory over sin and death. April 17, 2022

Palm Sunday 

recalls Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem.  Palm Sunday is known as such because the faithful will receive palm fronds which they use to participate in the reenactment of Christ’s arrival in Jerusalem with a procession. In the Gospels, Jesus entered Jerusalem riding a donkey to the praise of the townspeople who laid palms or small branches, in front of him as a sign of homage. This was a customary practice for people of great respect.

Holy Thursday

The Easter Triduum begins with the evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper. The Mass recounts the establishment of the Jewish feast of Passover; and it commemorates the institution of the Eucharist, the institution of the priesthood, and the footwashing. John’s placement of the footwashing where the other evangelists place the Last Supper conveys his belief that the real presence of Christ is found not only in the Eucharist but in service. Jesus gave us his mandatum or mandate:  “You ought to wash one another’s feet. I have given you an example. As I have done, so you should also do” (John 13:14,15). Jesus is made present when disciples put aside their prideful aspirations, humble themselves, and serve one another, even to the point of doing a menial task joyfully.

Good Friday

Good Friday was the last day of Jesus’ life on earth before His resurrection. He was betrayed by Judas, as predicted, and denied by Peter, as predicted. His disciples scattered. He was arrested and was placed on trial falsely. He was condemned, beaten, mocked, and required to carry His own cross to the place where He was crucified and died. “The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head.” Though he was offered something to dull the physical pain, Jesus refused. He chose to face the pain of death head on. They stripped Him of His clothes and cast lots for them, fulfilling another prophecy.

Two prisoners were crucified alongside Jesus. One mocked Him, but the other said, “‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ Jesus answered him, ‘Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise’” (Luke 23:39-43)

Holy Saturday 

remembers the day which Jesus spent in the grave resting. The Easter Vigil takes place at the end of the day at 8:30 P.M. because the new liturgical day begins at sunset, the vigil begins at sunset on Holy Saturday outside the church, where an Easter fire is kindled and the Paschal candle is blessed and then lit. This Paschal candle will be used throughout the season of Easter, remaining in the sanctuary of the church and throughout the coming year at baptisms and funerals, reminding all that Christ is our life and light.

After the conclusion of the Liturgy of the Word, the water of the baptismal font is solemnly blessed and any catechumens and candidates for full communion are initiated into the church.

Easter Sunday

The last day of Holy Week is Easter Sunday, often referred to as resurrection Sunday. This day celebrates the resurrection of Jesus as he arose from the dead and appeared to some of his disciples to demonstrate he is risen and his task to save humanity from their sins was successful. 

Christians celebrate this by attending Easter Sunday church service and rejoice in the message of eternal hope that the world has, if they believe that Jesus Christ has saved them from their sins. 

Crucifixion of Jesus Christ on the cross at Calvary against a sunset. Vector illustration
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