Holy Week: A retreat within a retreat

Here’s the Holy Week Schedule.

 

Lent has been described as the world’s largest retreat: one billion Catholics spending forty days in prayer, fasting, and abstinance. We purify ourselves – as Jesus did in the desert – in preparation for the liturgical celebrations of Christ’s death and resurrection.

Holy Week, then, is a retreat within a retreat. As Christian stewards we contemplate God’s goodness to us and reflect on our response.

The Mass of the Oils takes place at the Cathedral on Tuesday of holy week. Every priest and deacon renews the promises he made at his ordination. The bishop blesses the oils that will be used in the sacraments of Easter.

The Triduum is the heart of Holy Week. Latin for three days, the triduum is Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday’s Easter Vigil. The triduum is composed of one Mass spread over three days to commemorate Christ’s gift of Himself in the Eucharist (Thursday), His sacrifice of Himself (Friday), and His gift of saving grace (Easter).

Easter Sunday is the culmination of forty days of penance and seven days of holy week. We give God thanks for His goodness to us. Easter Sunday is the beginning of the fifty days of Easter, the period when we share our joy with the world.

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