Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord began Holy Week March 20. The Church celebrated Jesus’ triumphant entrance into Jerusalem with a procession of palms, as seen at right at Holy Trinity Church in Utica, and the reading of the Passion narrative.
Joined by priests and faithful from across the diocese, Bishop Cunningham celebrated the Chrism Mass March 22 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. During the Mass, the oil of the sick and the oil of catechumens were blessed and the sacred Chrism (pictured below) was consecrated. Also at this special Mass, priests in the diocese renewed their priestly promises.
Holy Thursday marked the beginning of the Paschal Triduum March 24. The Church gathered in the evening for the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, which focuses on the institution of both the ordained priesthood and the Holy Eucharist, as well as the call to service with the washing of feet. There is a procession with the Blessed Sacrament to the altar of repose, where Christ is adored and the faithful are invited keep watch with him. Many Catholics participate in the tradition of visitation or “church hopping,” visiting several churches on Holy Thursday evening to venerate the Blessed Sacrament.
No Mass is celebrated on Good Friday, March 25; rather, the Church gathers to adore and venerate the cross, read the Passion and receive Holy Communion.
The Stations of the Cross were brought to life at the mission of St. Bernadette in Constantia on Good Friday, presented by youth from Divine Mercy Parish. At left, Robert Stevens portrays Jesus.
The Easter Vigil was celebrated on Holy Saturday, March 26. The Vigil includes a service of light — the lighting of fire and the Paschal candle — which recalls that by his death and resurrection Christ banished the darkness of sin; the Liturgy of the Word, in which the history of God’s plan of salvation is proclaimed; the celebration of Baptism and Confirmation, in which new members are incorporated into Christ and the Church; and the Liturgy of the Eucharist, in which the Church recalls the death and resurrection of the Lord.
The Church celebrated the joyous Resurrection of the Lord and his conquering of sin and death on Easter Sunday, March 27.