Holy Week Significance
Holy Week is the week preceding Easter and the final week of Lent. It begins with Palm Sunday and ends with Holy Saturday, the day before Easter Sunday. It includes Holy Thursday (also known as Maundy Thursday) and Good Friday, which, together with Holy Saturday, are known as the Triduum.
On Palm Sunday, we celebrate the triumphant entry of Our Lord into Jerusalem, riding a donkey. On that day, the people laid palms before him, a gesture reserved for triumphant leaders. We celebrate this at Mass by distributing palms to the faithful who may keep them for a time for use as devotional objects. The palms are blessed at Mass.
The next major event in Holy Week is Holy Thursday. On this day, Jesus celebrated the Passover feast with the disciples. We know this feast as the Last Supper. We also commemorate Jesus’ washing the feet of the apostles. After supper, Jesus went to the Mount of Olives and prayed. From this event comes inspiration for
our practice of Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration, where we are invited to spend one hour in prayer with Jesus, truly present in the Eucharist; Body, Blood, and Divinity. This is the night he was betrayed by Judas and arrested.
The next day is Good Friday, and on this day, we commemorate the trial, punishment, and Crucifixion of Our Lord. The pious practices on this day are reading out the Passion of the Lord from John’s gospel, Veneration of the Cross and praying Stations of the Cross. It is the day of fasting and abstinence.
On Holy Saturday night we celebrate Easter Vigil – Resurrection of our Lord. The important ceremonies on this night are: Blessing of fire, lighting of the Pascha candle, reading/singing Pascha preface, blessing of holy water and renewal of baptismal vows. (Welcoming of newly prepared Christians into the church by solemn baptism during this auspicious night).
Please prepare yourselves to participate in all these important ceremonies during Holy Week.