On Holy Thursday we celebrate the institution of the Holy Eucharist. After the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, (which includes the Reception of the Holy Oils and the Washing of the Apostles Feet), we are invited to join the procession to the Altar of Repose and stay for the Vigil in front of the Blessed Sacrament. Jesus said to Peter, (and to us) “Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour?” (Matthew 26:40) On Good Friday the church bells are silent, and the altar is bare. It’s a day of fasting and penance where we walk the 14 Stations of the Cross. Nowhere in the world does the Church celebrate any of its seven Sacraments, for we reflect on the loss of the giver of all Sacraments, Jesus. At the Celebration of the Lord’s Passion, during the Veneration of the Cross, we genuflect and breathe a prayer that we remain faithful to that Cross through love, devotion and service. (Co-vid prohibits us from touching or kissing the cross) The silent exit is an important part of this service as it is an opportunity for each of us to meditate on Jesus' Passion and his great love and sacrifice for us. We meet in St Joseph’s later that evening for the ‘Tenebrae’ service (Latin for ‘shadows’) which recreates the betrayal, abandonment, and agony of the events of Good Friday. The Day of Silence ends with our Easter Vigil celebration, the night of all holy nights. Here you are invited to enter ‘God’s Time’ as this is by no means the usual one-hour Mass. The components that make up this celebration are complex and rich. It begins in darkness outside, with the Service of Light, where the fire and Paschal candle are blessed. It is tonight we renew our baptismal promises. The Easter Vigil is above all, meant to gather the entire people of a parish community to celebrate the Paschal Mystery in all its fullness. Bring your bells to ring in the Gloria. Here we mark that Christ is alive, and through his resurrection, we, too, are given the gift of life. Easter Sunday is both the final hours of the Triduum and the first of the great fifty days which will end at the celebration of the Feast of Pentecost. It’s been said many times that attending the Easter Service without attending the services of the Holy Triduum is a lot like watching the happy ending of a movie without seeing the middle. Come and take the time to enjoy these beautiful and memorable days of the Paschal Triduum! Breathe in Christ!
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