Beginning this Thursday, we celebrate the most important liturgies of the entire Church Year. We hope the following information will help you to better understand these services and will encourage you to join us in prayer!
HOLY THURSDAY, March 29
There is only one Mass on Holy Thursday. That Mass, known as the “Mass of the Lord’s Supper,” will take place at 7:30 pm. On entering the church, you will notice that the door to the tabernacle will be open and the candle next to it will not be burning. On this night, which celebrates the institution of the Eucharist, we begin with the absence of the Blessed Sacrament.
Following the homily, the pastor will wash the feet of representatives of the parish. This will be done in response to the Gospel Reading for this night that relates how Jesus washed the feet of his Apostles at the Last Supper and told them, “I have given you a model to follow so that just as I have done for you, you should also do.” The washing of feet reminds us that we are to be of service to others.
Just before the collection, which will benefit the poor, the Holy Oils used for the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Anointing of the Sick will be brought into the church. These oils, blessed by Cardinal Tobin, are distributed to all the parishes of the Archdiocese. After they are presented, the oils are placed in the shrine near the baptismal font.
The Mass then continues and reaches its highpoint with the consecration and the reception of Holy Communion. We respond to the invitation of the Lord given at the Last Supper, “Take and eat, this is my Body. Take and drink, this is my Blood.” Extra hosts are consecrated at this Mass for distribution during the services of Good Friday. At the end of the liturgy, these hosts are brought in solemn procession to the tabernacle located in our daily Mass chapel.
Please note: Good Friday is a day of fast, on which only one full meal is permitted and two lesser meals. No food is permitted in between meals. No meat may be eaten.
GOOD FRIDAY, March 30
On Good Friday, Mass is not celebrated, instead there is the Celebration of the Passion of the Lord at 3 pm, and then again at 7:30 pm. This service begins with three readings, including the Passion of Jesus according to Saint John. After the readings, there are ten solemn prayers of petition that embrace the needs of the Church and of all the world. Then a large cross is reverently carried into the church. We come forward to individually adore the cross on which hung the Savior of the world. The liturgy continues with the distribution of Holy Communion using hosts that were consecrated during the Mass of Holy Thursday. The service concludes with a final prayer by the priest.
HOLY SATURDAY, March 31
The Easter Vigil, which takes place at 8 pm, is the highlight of this day and of the entire Church Year. The service begins in darkness. A new fire is blessed and the large Easter Candle is lit with a flame from the fire. The light then spreads to the candles of the congregation. We then listen to the Easter Proclamation that announces our salvation in Christ.
Following this, there is a series of readings from the Old and New Testaments that proclaim the wondrous story of God’s love for his creation and for his people. The readings conclude with the Gospel of the Resurrection.
After the readings, the water of the baptismal font is blessed. Afterwards we renew our baptismal promises and are sprinkled with water from the font. The priest then prays the great Eucharistic Prayer and we join in receiving the Body and Blood of Christ, our Risen Lord.
EASTER SUNDAY, April 1
The Mass of Easter Sunday joyfully celebrates the Lord’s Resurrection by which we are raised to new life and receive the promise of eternal life. During the Mass, we renew our baptismal promises and are sprinkled with water from the baptismal font. The Mass includes the glorious hymns of Easter and the return of the word “Alleluia” to the liturgy. At the Mass, we once more encounter the Risen Lord as we come forward to the altar to receive Holy Communion. We then go forth from the liturgy to share the Good News, the Great News – the Lord is Risen! Of all the Sundays of the year, Easter Sunday is the most important. In fact, it is sometimes referred to as the Sunday of all Sundays!
On Easter Sunday, Mass will be celebrated at 8 am, 10 am and 12 Noon. Because of the number of people who join us for Mass on Easter Sunday and because there is no evening Mass on Easter Sunday, we will also celebrate Mass in the Maria Room at 10 am and 12 Noon.