Holy Week, the week before Easter, begins on Palm Sunday and ends on Holy Saturday, the day before Easter Sunday. This year, Palm Sunday is March 28 and Holy Saturday is April 3.
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.
Bishop Salvatore R. Matano carries palms as he processes into a Palm Sunday Mass in 2020.
During the 2020 solemn Mass of the Chrism, Bishop Matano replaces the lid on the vessel containing the Oil of Sacred Chrism.
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.
Bishop Matano will celebrate the Chrism Mass at 7 p.m. March 30.
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 the feet ritual will be suspended this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bishop Matano kneels before the tabernacle following the 2020 Holy Thursday Mass.
An audio recording of readings for the Mass of the Lord’s Supper.
Father Kevin McKenna holds the cross for Bishop Matano to venerate during a Good Friday service in 2020.
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 also is a common day for praying the Stations of the Cross as well.
In Poland, the blessing of Easter baskets is known as Święconka. St. Stanislaus Kostka Church in Rochester is one of several churches in the diocese that celebrates the blessing of Easter baskets every Holy Saturday. This year, in order to avoid large crowds, St. Stanislaus will be having multiple celebrations.
Last year, when the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of his parish’s Easter basket blessing, Father Jack Ledwon, pastor of St. Joseph University Parish in Buffalo, offered the blessing virtually.
Catechumen Christina Ashbery signs the Book of the Elect at the Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion at Sacred Heart Cathedral Feb. 21.
Catechumens and candidates who have participated in Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults programs at diocesan parishes will be welcomed into the Catholic Church during Easter Vigil Masses.
Bishop Salvatore R. Matano delivers an Easter message to the faithful of the Diocese of Rochester.
Happy Easter! Easter is the celebration of the Lord’s resurrection from the dead.