Holy Saturday. Emptiness, desolation, absence. Jesus lies in the tomb, dead. He descends into the underworld, uniting himself totally with our mortality. This is a day to spend with Our Lady who waited in grief, and in hope.
The Easter Vigil. This vigil is the mother of all holy vigils, quite unlike anything else. The darkness of the night is broken by the light of the paschal candle which is lit from a bonfire. The Mass begins in candlelight, includes readings which take us through the whole history of salvation, and then the renewal of our baptismal vows. The Church will be filled with joy, light, and life after the length of Lent.
The 3pm service on Good Friday begins with the priest lying prostrate on the floor, symbolising the grief and sorrow of the Church, the hour at which Christ died. The service includes the ancient ritual of the creeping of the cross, where everyone is invited to reverence the wood of the cross.
‘Maundy’ comes from the Latin word, ‘mandatum’ and it relates to Christ washing the feet of the disciples and his ‘command’to love as He has loved. In this celebration, we celebrate three things: the institution of the Eucharist, the institution of the Priesthood, and Christ’s command of brotherly love.
Maundy Thursday evening Mass includes the ceremony of the washing of feet. At the end, you are invited to journey to the side altar which becomes the Garden of Gethsemane, and remain there with the Lord in silence and adoration.
We are now in Holy Week!
On Palm Sunday we entered into the holiest week of the year. Holy Week is the heart of our faith. Attending all the different events – Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, the Passion on Good Friday, the emptiness of Holy Saturday, and finally the celebration of Easter breaking into our world at the Easter Vigil – is what makes our faith make sense.
Holy Week is what makes us Christian, and we need it every year. Through the ages countless martyrs have died for this faith, even here close by in Lancaster. Now, it is our turn to walk together to Jerusalem to share in Christ’s Hour.
From the newsletter: (excuse the old photo!)
“The total donated has reached £3,895 – including the Soup Day contribution of £706. This is a very generous response, so thanks to all who contributed in any way.
The government will match our contribution £1 for £1 and Gift Aid will add a further £501. We now continue with the Refugee project….