By OSV staff - OSV Newsweekly, 3/24/2013
Holy Week and Easter Triduum
Holy Week and the Easter Triduum — the culmination of the entire liturgical calendar — engage our senses in a profound way: the feel of the palm fronds we carry during the Palm Sunday processional; the haunting beats of the hymns that lament Christ’s death on Good Friday; the scent of incense at the Easter Vigil as it rises toward heaven.
And, of course, the many sights of this sacred time — penitents kissing Christ’s feet while venerating the Cross, the faithful commemorating Christ’s final journey along the Via Crucis.
To capture some of those profound images, OSV Newsweekly asked four Catholic photographers — Karen Callaway in Chicago, Sam Lucero in Green Bay, Wis., Bob Mullen in Vernon, Conn., and Tom Tracy in South Florida — to contribute their photographs of Holy Week and the Triduum. We hope these photographs offer a glimpse of the united heart of the Catholic Church.
Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord
Holy Week begins with the Procession of Palms, a commemoration of Christ’s triumphant entrance into Jerusalem, with crowds singing praise to the Messiah. The liturgy for the day focuses on the Paschal mystery, with the account of the Suffering Servant in Isaiah (Is 50:4-7) and the Gospel reading of the Passion.
Monday of Holy Week: The Gospel reading for this day is the Anointing at Bethany (Jn 12:1-11), when Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, anointed the feet of Jesus with perfumed oil and dried them with her hair, a foreshadowing of his suffering and death.
Tuesday of Holy Week: The Gospel reading is John’s account of the Last Supper (Jn 13:21-33, 36-38), when Jesus announced that one of his disciples would betray him.
Wednesday of Holy Week: Jesus’ instructions to his disciples to prepare a place for the Last Supper is recounted in this day’s Gospel (Mt 26:14-25).
Chrism Mass: An ancient celebration that traditionally takes place on Holy Thursday morning, the liturgy features a bishop’s blessing of holy oils used in baptisms, confirmations and ordinations, and for the consecration of buildings. Also at the Mass, priests renew their dedication to priestly service. Though often held on Holy Thursday, it may be moved to a different day.
Mass of the Lord’s Supper: The liturgy on this evening recalls the institution of the Eucharist and includes the mandatum, remembering when Christ washed his disciples’ feet at the Last Supper. Like the Chrism Mass, this liturgy commemorates the institution of the ordained ministry. Holy Thursday ends with a procession of the reserved Eucharist to an altar of repose and the faithful are asked to spend time with Jesus.
Mass is not celebrated on this day. In many parishes, the liturgy is held between noon and 3 p.m., the time that Christ spent on the cross before His death. The service features Scripture readings from Isaiah and Hebrews, and the Passion account from the Gospel of John. Prayers and intercessions for the Church and the world follow, after which the Cross is venerated.
In many communities, the Via Crucis processions take place in addition to the solemn liturgy.
On this day, faithful are called meditate on Christ’s passion and death, keeping vigil with the Virgin Mary and other women at Christ’s tomb.
Somber reflection gives way to joy at the Easter Vigil, celebrated after sundown on Saturday night, when the darkness of Christ’s death gives way to the light of Christ’s victory.
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