Holy week is just that – the holiest time in the year. So, don’t waste the opportunity to saturate yourself in God’s graces! Pray hard, love others, serve, give, and spend tons of time with Jesus in prayer!
To start us off, here are some insights into Holy Week and the Triduum from Pope Francis:
To be totally in solidarity with us, he also experiences on the Cross the mysterious abandonment of the Father. In his abandonment, however, he prays and entrusts himself: “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit” (Lk 23:46). Hanging from the wood of the cross, beside derision he now confronts the last temptation: to come down from the Cross, to conquer evil by might and to show the face of a powerful and invincible God. Jesus, however, even here at the height of his annihilation, reveals the true face of God, which is mercy. He forgives those who are crucifying him, he opens the gates of paradise to the repentant thief and he touches the heart of the centurion. If the mystery of evil is unfathomable, then the reality of Love poured out through him is infinite, reaching even to the tomb and to hell. He takes upon himself all our pain that he may redeem it, bringing light to darkness, life to death, love to hatred.
God’s way of acting may seem so far removed from our own, that he was annihilated for our sake, while it seems difficult for us to even forget ourselves a little. He comes to save us; we are called to choose his way: the way of service, of giving, of forgetfulness of ourselves. Let us walk this path, pausing in these days to gaze upon the Crucifix; it is the “royal seat of God”. I invite you during this week to gaze often upon this “royal seat of God”, to learn about the humble love which saves and gives life, so that we may give up all selfishness, and the seeking of power and fame. By humbling himself, Jesus invites us to walk on his path. Let us turn our faces to him, let us ask for the grace to understand at least something of the mystery of his obliteration for our sake; and then, in silence, let us contemplate the mystery of this Week.
To understand Holy Week better, here is a video that explains the basics in 2 minutes:
The Triduum is made up of the three days before Easter – Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday. It is a single prayer of final preparation where we enter into the redemption of humanity and the salvation of the world made present in the Resurrection of our Lord.
This is the holiest part of the year and makes present the mystery of Jesus passion and death before He rises again.
- Holy Thursday – The Mass of the Lord’s Supper, it is the celebration of the first Eucharist in the upper room. This is when we have the annual washing of feet. Usually there is no other Mass celebrated on this day. Extra hosts are consecrated and then all of the Blessed Sacrament are taken from the Church and the tabernacle is left open to signify our longing for Christ. We have adoration after this mass as our last act of worship before the sorrow of Good Friday.
- Good Friday – Celebration of the Lord’s Passion. There is no Mass this day. Usually there are Stations of The Cross and a Communion service. This is when we have veneration of the Cross and the entire Passion of Christ is read.
- Easter Vigil – This is the high-point of the Church’s year. During this celebration of Christ’s death and Resurrection we have the RCIA candidates and elect receive the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist). The vigil must take place after night falls. It starts with an Easter fire outside of the Church. Then the paschal (Easter) candle is lit and processed into the Church. Then we all share the light of Christ with one another. Afterward, we have the Liturgy of the Word, which will have many readings about the story of God’s Salvation history (7 Old Testament and 2 New Testament readings). Then after the homily, we celebrate baptism and confirmation. After this we celebrate the Eucharist. It is a long and absolutely beautiful liturgy with many “smells and bells”.
We should prayerfully enter into the coming Holy Week in preparation for Christ’s rising from the dead. Christ have mercy on us all!
Need more suggestions? Here you go:
Final resource is a Bible timeline of who was where (and when) during Holy Week. A great exercise this week is to read and pray with the differing Gospel accounts of the passion and death of Jesus. This timeline (from BibleGateway) can help.