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Holy Week and Triduum liturgies

The Sacrament of Reconciliation
The Church strongly encourages us to use the Sacrament of
Reconciliation before Easter as a way to
cleanse ourselves from our “old ways” so that
we may receive a new heart and a new spirit
with the gift of Easter peace.

The Chrism Mass
Chrism Mass is a gathering of the Diocesan Church
around its Bishop. During this Mass, we observe the
priests who minister in our Diocese as they renew
their priestly promises. During this Mass, the
Holy Oils of Catechumens and of the Sick will be
blessed, and in the case of the Sacred Chrism,
At the end of the Mass, Bishop Gendron will call upon a
representative from each parish to come forward and
receive the newly blessed oils and consecrated Chrism that
will be used in the Parish to celebrate the Sacraments of
Baptism and Confirmation as well as the Sacrament of the
All are invited to join in this celebration that will take place
at St. John the Evangelist Cathedral, (215 Longueuil, StJean-sur-Richelieu) on Tuesday, March 31st, 2015 at 7:30

Holy Week is …
With the celebration of the 6th Sunday during Lent, called
Passion Sunday (Palm Sunday), the Church enters into the
last days of the Lenten season: a week called holy. During
this week, the Church celebrates the events leading up to
and the culmination of the great mission of Jesus Christ,
namely, the redemption of all creation through his suffering,
death, and resurrection.
All through Lent, the Church has been preparing itself to
celebrate Easter with hearts and minds renewed. Passion
Sunday and the last few days of Lent give us an opportunity
to reflect deeply on the mystery of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice.
Passion Sunday and these days of Holy Week express with
intensity the Paschal Mystery: the suffering, death, and
resurrection of the Lord. During Holy Week, we enter into
the various layers and facets of the Paschal Mystery
through the liturgies of the Church, so that we may take to
heart the events of our salvation and be transformed by
them. These liturgies help us to know God’s love, mercy
and joy.

Palm or Passion Sunday:
Palms and Passion gives us an indication of the events of
Christ’s mission that we celebrate this Sunday: his
triumphant, final entry into Jerusalem and the events
leading up to and including his execution. The Church
gathers together to remember these events in the context
of Holy Eucharist, the presence of the Risen Christ, as it
enters this last Lenten week.
We start with a blessing of palm branches and proclaim the
Gospel account of Jesus’ triumphant entrance into
Jerusalem. In many parishes, a procession occurs during
which the faithful carry palm branches and sing jubilant
This is reminiscent of the people who joyfully welcomed
Jesus as he entered the gates of Jerusalem, eager with
anticipation that he could be the Messiah, the one to
overthrow Roman occupation and restore the nation. But
we, the faithful, know differently. We celebrate this event in
Jesus’ life because we know that his entrance into
Jerusalem is not a political coup, but something far greater.
We celebrate in full knowledge that his entrance leads to
his passion, death and resurrection: the great Paschal

Mystery that restores a fallen world to grace and makes us
a new creation in the Risen Lord.
Soon after the procession, the tone of the Mass changes as
the somber readings are proclaimed which culminate with
the proclamation of the Passion of our Lord. This focus on
Jesus, the Son of God, handing himself over to crucifixion
and death on a cross leads us into the rest of the week
when we will prayerfully revisit various aspects of his
passion and death. Yet, after the proclamation of the
Passion of our Lord, we celebrate the Liturgy of the
Eucharist on this the Lord’s Day conscious, too, of his
resurrection from the dead and our hope.

The Paschal Triduum is …
The Paschal Triduum (also known as the Easter Triduum) is
the three-day celebration of the Paschal Mystery: the
passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The
Christian celebration of this Paschal Triduum forms a
“bridge between the season of Lent and the season of
Easter.” The celebration of the Easter Triduum begins with
the Mass of the Lord’s Supper during the evening of Holy
Thursday, continues with the Lord’s Passion and Veneration
of the Cross on Good Friday, reaches its climax with the
Lord’s Resurrection at the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday,
joyfully celebrates on Easter Sunday morning, and conclude
with Evening Prayer on Sunday evening. Through these
Three Great Days, the Church enters deeply into the
various facets of the Paschal Mystery through liturgical

worship, prayerful devotion, and custom.
As a faith
community, we embrace the all-encompassing passage of
Jesus Christ through his passion and death to the new life of
the resurrection, and the world sharing in this redemptive
Every time Christians gather to celebrate Eucharist on
Sunday, the Lord’s Day, it is a weekly celebration of the
Paschal Mystery. “We proclaim your death, O Lord and
profess your Resurrection until you come again.” We are
living out of this Paschal Mystery every time we celebrate
the Sacraments, pray daily, live in witness to the Gospel,
and act charitably to help others to know God’s love.
Once a year, we celebrate the Paschal Mystery spread out
over these three holiest days of our liturgical year. As these
liturgies unfold, we reaffirm, by our participation, in the
ongoing victory of the Lord over sin and death as we await
his Second Coming.

Holy Thursday
By ancient tradition this is the only Mass celebrated on
Holy Thursday. We prepare ourselves to celebrate this
Liturgy in the spirit of deep faith and thanksgiving for the
gift of the Eucharist. The Liturgy begins with the
presentation of the oils blessed and consecrated by Bishop

Gendron at the Chrism Mass.
It is interesting that on this day we do not read the Gospel
of the institution of the Eucharist. Instead, we read from the
Gospel of John, how Jesus washed the feet of his disciples.
Our focus turns to the fact that “true Eucharist” that is, the
thanksgiving, must express itself in loving service or it
remains mere ritual. After the homily, there is the washing
of feet. The minister will move out into the congregation to
perform this action of love and service to recall how
ministers and leaders are to serve, not to be
served. It is from the actions of Christ at
his Last Supper that the Eucharist and
Priesthood are instituted, and the command
to love one another is given to all who
choose to follow the Lord.
Immediately following the Prayer after Communion, the
Blessed Sacrament will be processed down the main aisle to
the Place of Reposition. All are welcome to come and spend
some time in reflection and adoration.  The gifts blessed and
consecrated on Thursday will be our communion food on
Good Friday.
All the words and gestures we employ during the Holy Days
shape who we are and focus our minds and hearts on the
mystery we hold. As one body we observe silence and as
one body our silence calls all of us to a spirit of deep
contemplation. At the end of the liturgy we make our way
to the doors and depart in silence.

Good Friday: Celebration of the Lord’s Passion
The Good Friday Celebration of the Lord’s Passion begins
without a greeting or a word as we continue yesterday’s
liturgy. We do not come to mourn a “dead Christ” but rather
we come to celebrate a “risen Christ” whose death on the
cross we mark today. Good Friday calls us to be authentic
Christians by joining our sufferings with the sufferings of
Christ. Therefore, we know that, even on Good Friday,
Christ is really and truly alive and sharing his life with us.
We hear the Gospel of the passion and death of our Lord
from the Gospel of John. We are called to reflect upon
Christ’s breaking himself open and pouring himself out on
the cross.
The Liturgy of the Word concludes with the Procession
and Veneration of a large single cross. We are invited to
come forward and reverence the cross. There are many
ways to venerate the cross: to kiss a piece of the wood, to
touch it with one’s hand or to bow before it – all are
acceptable and meaningful ways to enter into this sacred
rite. In this action we are to place our personal and
communal crosses upon the Cross of Christ. We are weak,
frail and unable to carry our crosses by ourselves. We
acknowledge this in this action and we unite with other
Christians in solidarity. Together we invite Jesus to help us
carry our crosses. Our crosses and His cross become one
and the same cross, which when carried in faith and with
love, will lead to the resurrection - to new and risen life.
Having completed our petitions, we come forward in
procession to receive Holy Communion. This service is not a
Mass since we receive that which was consecrated at the
Mass of the Lord’s Supper.
We leave the worship space in silence to continue our
reflection on the cross. The liturgy has no formal conclusion
since it will be taken up again tomorrow night at the Easter
The Church reminds us that Good Friday is a

universal day of fasting and abstinence from meat. We are
encouraged to continue this paschal fast as much as
possible until our participation at the Easter Vigil.

Holy Saturday
Holy Saturday is a day of great silence while the Church
waits at the Lord’s tomb, meditating on his suffering and
death. It is part of the second day of the Triduum, which
lasts from sundown on Good Friday to sundown on Holy
Those who are able to may keep the paschal fast
throughout this day, but this is not obligatory.
On Holy Saturday night, well after sundown, the Church
turns to festive joy as it begins the third day of the Paschal
Triduum by celebrating the Easter Vigil.

The Easter Vigil – Celebration of the Lord’s
The Vigil begins at sundown without a greeting for we are
continuing the liturgy from yesterday. This evening we
celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ and
bring to a conclusion the liturgy begun on Holy Thursday
night and continued on Good Friday. There are four parts to
our Vigil: we begin with the Service of Light. We gather in
darkness outside the Church. We begin our vigil in darkness
for we are awaiting the coming of Jesus Christ, the Light of
the World.

First, we bless the Easter Fire. We prepare and light the
paschal candle. The candle is processed into the Church as
a symbol of Christ coming to disperse the darkness. The
Easter proclamation or “Exsultet” is then sung, proclaiming
Christ’s liberating power.
We “gather around the camp fire and tell stories.” We keep
vigilant as the readings of salvation history are proclaimed.
As each story is read, we remember how God was
intimately involved in the lives of the Jewish people and we
are challenged to see His same involvement in our lives.
Finally, the trumpet blasts and the lights come on and we
sing the “Gloria”. We listen to a reading from the Epistles
before we sing the “Alleluia”, which we have not sung since
Ash Wednesday. Finally the climax of salvation history is
proclaimed: the resurrection Gospel.
We celebrate the Sacraments of Initiation and the renewal
of our Baptismal promises. Here we bless the Easter Water
for use tonight, and throughout the entire fifty days of
Easter. The night when we celebrate Jesus’ Exodus, his
passage from death to new life was considered to be the
most appropriate night to celebrate Baptism. This is our
sharing in that very same mystery, our personal movement
from death to new life.
Finally, we celebrate the Liturgy of the Eucharist - we now
“come full circle”. The Paschal Mystery is a dynamic and
continuous mystery in our lives. The mystery of
being nurtured, moving out in service,
accepting the cross and rising to new life
with Christ are never ending.

Easter Day –





Easter Sunday concludes the Triduum and begins the holy
season of Easter. This season of joy will conclude with the

Solemnity of Pentecost.
On this Sunday and the seven that follow, the Paschal
Candle will burn beside the baptismal font, reminding us
that the Lord’s death and resurrection have set us free and
that through the saving waters of baptism, we have come to
share in divine life. Alleluia, Alleluia!

May our participation and worship during these Holy
Week Liturgies nourish our faith and commit us to
service in the name of our Lord, Jesus, the Risen
All are invited to check with their local parish for
times of services during Holy Week. The schedule is
also found on our