I. Palm Sunday ushers in Holy Week, the most important, the most solemn week of the entire Church Year. One moment we are waving palm branches, welcoming Jesus into the holy city singing, “Hosanna! Hosanna”! The next moment, we are shouting, “Crucify! Crucify!”
II. Tenebrae Prayer Service on Monday at 6:30pm is born out of the Liturgy of the Hours for Holy Thursday and Good Friday, walking from light into darkness. Come experience it!
III. Chrism Mass will be celebrated at the Sportscenter at 6:30pm. As Bishop Medley gathers with the priests, deacons, sisters, and laypeople of the Diocese of Owensboro, he invites the priests to renew their commitment as servant-leaders. He blesses the Oil of Chrism, the Oil of the Sick, the Oil of Catechumens to be used in parishes and institutions throughout our Diocese.
IV. Holy Thursday: The Mass of the Lord’s Supper at 7:00pm opens the Triduum (three days). We witness the presentation of the Holy Oils, blessed by Bishop Medley at the Chrism Mass. The Scriptures remind us of the institution of the Eucharist by Christ. To reinforce the teaching of Jesus to serve, we wash feet. We celebrate and receive Eucharist, and then are invited to stay and keep vigil at Eucharistic adoration in the Community Center until 11:00pm, a chance to reflect/pray quietly in the presence of Christ.
V. Good Friday: Celebration of the Lord’s Passion. We gather in solemn silence at 7:00pm. This is not another liturgy, but the second day of the Triduum. During the Liturgy of the Word, the Passion of Christ is proclaimed, and we remember how Jesus suffered and died for our sins. We are reminded that many people need our prayers, and so we pray a more elaborate form of the General Intercessions. In simplicity and humility, we approach the Cross and acknowledge its power by touching, kneeling, genuflecting, or standing before it in prayer. After the adoration of the Cross, we receive Holy Communion. We leave the church in solemn silence to continue a spirit of prayer and fasting at home, and then return on Saturday evening for the Easter Vigil.
VI. Holy Saturday: the Easter Vigil begins at 7:45pm. This is the highpoint of the Easter Triduum. This is the night for primary symbols: fire, words, water, oil, bread, wine. We gather around the new fire outside to remind us that Jesus is our light in the darkness. After lighting the Easter candle from the first fire, we process into the darkened church. In the Scripture readings, we hear the Word of God, calling to mind God’s saving Love through human history. We welcome those joining our St. Stephen Cathedral community.
VII. Easter Morning at 7:00, 9:00, 11:00am. The rejoicing continues on Easter morning. Christ is risen! We truly celebrate the promise of salvation. By surrendering ourselves in the waters of Baptism and signing ourselves with the blessed waters of new life, we become new creations. We are reminded the next fifty days of Easter that we did not just re-enact some historical event that happened many years ago; but the same power which raised Jesus of Nazareth is (or can be) a power and reality in our lives today. Be welcoming and hospitable to our many visitors! Thanks be to God! Alleluia! Alleluia!
In Joy and Hope,