Holy Week, the week before Easter, begins on Palm Sunday, which is Sunday, April 5, and will end on Holy Saturday, the day before Easter on April 11.
“Federal, state and local government have indicated that it is not possible to know when this pandemic will subside, but it is realistic to expect that Holy Week ceremonies will be celebrated without the faithful present.” – Bishop Salvatore R. Matano, March 17 pastoral letter.
Since Masses will be celebrated without the faithful present, some changes have been made to some of Holy Week’s traditional rituals.
On Palm Sunday, Christians recall Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem for Passover, just days before he was arrested and crucified. A highlight of Palm Sunday is the blessing and distribution of palms representing the branches onlookers scattered before Jesus as he rode into Jerusalem. Liturgies for Palm Sunday also feature a reading of the narrative of Jesus’s passion.
“Blessed palms may be made available during the week, in a prudent manner that respects travel and gathering restrictions.” – Bishop Matano, March 22 pastoral letter
Bishop Matano will celebrate Mass for Palm Sunday, April 5, at 11 a.m.
In this video, a parochial vicar discusses the significance of palms Catholics receive on Palm Sunday and their use as a sacramental.
Taking place each year during Holy Week, the Chrism Mass is one of the most solemn and important annual liturgies for the diocesan church. This is the Mass during which the priests of the diocese renew their priestly promises and Bishop Matano blesses the sacred oils – the Oil of the Catechumens, the Oil of the Sick and the Holy Chrism – that will be used at diocesan parishes for the next year.
“The Chrism Mass will occur without the presence of the faithful and the oils will be blessed and consecrated at a non-public Mass and distributed as feasible.” — Bishop Matano, March 17 pastoral letter
Bishop Matano will celebrate the Chrism Mass at 6 p.m. April 7.
The liturgy for Holy Thursday commemorates the Last Supper, during which Jesus instituted the Eucharist. Holy Thursday also marks the end of Lent and the beginning of the sacred Triduum, a three-day period of liturgical observances that runs through evening prayer on Easter Sunday.
Before beginning the last supper, Jesus washed the feet of his apostles, an act that is commemorated at Holy Thursday Masses by priests washing the feet of worshippers.
“The Washing of Feet, which is already optional, is to be omitted. At the end of the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, the procession with the Blessed Sacrament to the place of repose is to be omitted and the Blessed Sacrament is to be kept in the tabernacle.” –Bishop Matano, March 22 pastoral letter
Bishop Matano will celebrate the Mass for Lord’s Supper at 6 p.m. April 9.
Good Friday is the commemoration of Jesus’ crucifixion and death. It is the only day of the year when Mass is not celebrated, but Passion of the Lord services are held. It is also a common day for praying the Stations of the Cross as well.
“In the Universal prayer (during the Passion of the Lord service), there is to be a special intention for the sick, the dead, for those who feel lost or dismayed. (cf. Missale Romanum)” – Bishop Matano March 22 pastoral letter.
Bishop Matano will celebrate the Passion of our Lord at 3 p.m. April 10.
Last year on Good Friday, the Catholic Courier livestreamed Church of the Assumption in Fairport’s powerful and dramatic Night Service of the Seven Last Words.
This is the Mass during which the priests of the diocese renew their priestly promises and Bishop Matano blesses.
In Poland, the blessing of the baskets is known as Święconka and is celebrated every Holy Saturday at St. Stanislaus Kostka Church in Rochester. (Because of the coronavirus, it will not take place this year).
To learn more about Święconka, read this 2018 reflection from St. Stanislaus secretary/business manager Magdalena Wnuk.
More than 130 adults and children who participated in Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults programs at diocesan parishes since the fall were to be welcomed into the Catholic Church during Easter Vigil Masses.
But with the suspension of public Masses, “the conferral of the Sacraments at the Easter Vigil will take place at a later date.” -Bishop Matano, March 17 pastoral letter.
Bishop Matano will celebrate the Easter Vigil at 7 p.m. April 11.
Happy Easter! Easter is the celebration of the Lord’s resurrection from the dead.
Bishop Matano will celebrate Mass at 11 a.m. April 12.