Palm Sunday 4 April to Easter Sunday 11 April 2004


Veneration of the Cross

Veneration of the Cross

Veneration of the Cross

Good Friday - the sanctuary is empty as we await the resurrection of our Lord

The sanctuary is empty - we await Christ

Fr. Vincent guides the congregation through the 14 Stations of the Cross, the liturgy of the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ

Young and old follow the Passion of Jesus along the 14 Stations of the Cross


Fr. Vincent chants the Exsultet - Rejoice everyone! Christ is risen and will be with us until the end of time itself.

Exsultet - Rejoice!

The congregation rejoices in candlelight at the Vigil Mass of the Ressurection of our Lord Jesus Christ

Gloria in excelsis! - the Altar of Repose - decorated in splendid light on the eve of the Resurrection







Reflect with Pope John Paul II on the Way of the Cross




Pray with us on the Way of the Cross










Holy Week is the most important week in the life of the Church.  The liturgy is full of symbolism as it follows the footsteps of Our Lord.  On Palm Sunday, we arrive at the Church in a joyful procession carrying palm branches and hailing Our Lord as king as did the Jews on his triumphant entry into Jerusalem.  The priest is robed in red, the colour of a king.  We read the account of the passion from, which reminds us of the tremendous events that will unfold in the coming week.

The liturgy for Maundy Thursday moves to the upper room where we remember the last Supper and the institution of the Blessed Sacrament (Holy Communion).  During the singing of the Gloria, the bells ring out, and then remain silent; the church is in mourning until the Resurrection.  After reading the passage from St John’s Gospel, which recounts the story of Our Lord washing the feet of his Apostles, the priest takes off his Mass vestment and follows Jesus’ example. The word Maundy comes from the Latin ‘Mandátum’ ‘I give you’ (a new commandment, love one another as I have loved you’).  In the past not only the clergy carried out this act of humility but Christian Kings and Emperors did so as well.  Even today in our own country the Queen will carry out a ceremony called ‘The Royal Maundy’, where she will distribute money to the poor instead of washing their feet.  During the most sacred part of the Mass, the Canon, the words change slightly to remind us that tonight we remember the institution of the Blessed Sacrament, ‘…in memory of that night when Jesus Christ, Our Lord, gave us the mysteries of his body and blood.’  On this night we omit the Sign of Peace, to recall that Our Lord was betrayed by Judas with a kiss of friendship.  After Holy Communion as the Blessed Sacrament is sorrowfully carried in procession to the Altar of Repose, we follow Our Lord into the Garden of Gethsemane which the Altar represents. There remembering that his apostles could not keep awake while he suffered the pain and anguish of that night, we watch with him in prayer until midnight. 

On Good Friday the Church is bare, the Altar has been stripped, nothing remains that can distract us from what we are focusing on.  It is the one-day of the year when the Church does not celebrate Mass. The ceremony begins at 3pm, the time at which Our Lord died upon the cross.  The Procession enters in silence, all kneel in silence and the priest prostrates himself on the floor before the desolate altar. The ceremony proceeds with the reading of St John’s Passion.  Then in a long list of intercessions, we pray for the Church and the whole world.  The most moving part of the ceremony follows - the cross is slowly unveiled as all approach and venerate.

From then until Holy Saturday night the Church waits in anticipation of the Resurrection.  The Easter Vigil begins in darkness, the Easter fire is blessed and the great Easter Candle lit, it is carried into the darkened church, the priest proclaiming ‘lumen Christi' (Light of Christ).  The ceremony follows full of symbolism as the priest sings the great Easter Exsúltet – the Easter proclamation (Rejoice!).  The readings from scripture recall salvation history.  The Baptismal Water is blessed and we renew our Baptismal Promises. The Gloria is accompanied by the prolonged ringing of the bells, as the altar is decorated and the candles are lit for Mass. 

The three days unfold like a triptych.  This is the high point of the Church’s liturgical year.  I would encourage you to join us for these solemn celebrations; they are so beautiful as you enter into the mystery of Our Lord’s Passion, death and Resurrection.

 I wish all of you the blessing of the risen Lord.


Fr. Vincent

Easter Night

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