Holy Week…In a Few Words

  In a Few Words…Holy Week.

by Fr. David
Beginning with Palm Sunday we celebrate the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. On Holy Thursday we commemorate the institution of
the Holy Eucharist during Christ’s celebration of the Passover supper. Good Friday leads us  to the celebration of the Lord’s passion and death.
Holy Saturday evening we celebrate the Easter Vigil called the Vigil of all vigils. Here, those seeking to join the Catholic church are baptized
or make a profession of faith if already baptized in another faith. This vigil prepares us for the Resurrection on Easter Sunday. Easter Sunday brings new life in celebrating Christ’s resurrection, and his victory over sin and death. Easter is the greatest feast of the Christian church.
As you can see, the days of Holy Week provide the framework for the church recalling how Jesus redeemed the human race.
Until the 4th century, however, there was basically One Liturgical Feast, the Annual Pascha or Christian Passover. It was a memorial of the entire process of redemption, viewed as an Indivisible whole.
The early Christians saw in the Jewish Passover the key to understand the feast of redemption. As the Jewish Passover celebrates all the single moments of the Exodus in their interrelation and unity, so, too, the early Christians unified all the single moments of Holy Week::The Paschal Celebration, the Passover of the Lord.

Fr. David.

Making Holy Week Holy with Tenebrae

What is Tenebrae?

Today marks the beginning of Holy Week.  With Jesus’ triumphant entry in Jerusalem, a series of historical transforming events is put in motion; events which lead from the Upper Room of the Last Supper to the hill of Golgotha where Jesus is Crucified.  In order to enter more fully into the sacred mysteries of this Holy Week, our Catholic prayers give us many traditions to help us.  One such tradition is Tenebrae.   Tenebrae is the name given to the prayers of the Church (Divine Office) during Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday as they were observed prior to the reform of Holy Week by Pope Pius XII in 1955.  Dominicans have continued to pray Tenebrae each year as a particular tradition of our Order.  From the Latin word for “darkness,”Tenebrae 2011

Tenebrae is prayed during the morning hours of shadow in order to reflect the darkness of this sacred and sober time.  With the only light in the Church coming from a large candelabra (called a hearse), the gloom of our surrounding unites our prayers to the suffering Christ, and all those experiencing the darkness of life.

How Do we Pray Tenebrae?

Since its inception in the 7th century, Tenebrae has taken many forms.  In the contemporary rite, this Office contains five Psalms and one Canticle.   In keeping with the darkness of the surroundings, these six prayers are penitential in tone.  After each psalm or canticle, a set of candles is extinguished, representing the fleeing of the Apostles, until there is only one lit candle left, the “Christ candle.”  During the Benedictus on Saturday, the Christ candle is taken away signifying the burial of Jesus.

The psalms are separated by three lessons taken from the Book of Lamentations, a collection of poems which grieve over the Babylonian destruction in 587 B.C. of the Temple in Jerusalem, and the captivity of the people of Israel.  By describing the horrible situation which they now endure, the poems exhort the Israelites to mourn for having turned away from God to worship foreign, pagan Gods.  The great “Prayer of Jeremiah”, which ends Tenebrae on Saturday, is a plea to God to remember His covenant and rescue His chosen people, despite their waywardness.

The tenebrae-candlestickchanting of these Lamentations is powerful. The mournful, if haunting tone connects us with those moments in our own lives when we have fallen.  The final line of each Lamentation rings out with soulful purpose: “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, return to the Lord your God.”

When Do Pray Tenebrae?

Tenebrae begins at 8:15am Thursday through Saturday of this week.  You are invited to come and immerse yourself in the mysteries of Holy Week.  As we pray Tenebrae, we make these psalms and lamentations our own.  We seek pardon for our own sins, as well as the whole world.  We reflect on any of the ways in which we as human beings have turned away from being the image and likeness of God.  We unite ourselves and our suffering with the suffering of Christ and those in physical, emotional and spiritual need.  We turn again to God as the source of our life, our sweetness and our hope.

In a few words..The Stations of the Cross

 In A Few Words, by Fr. David.

The Stations of the Cross originated in pilgrimages to The Holy Land. These pilgrimages became very popular, however not everyone could afford to go on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. A desire to reproduce the holy places inThe-Stations-of-the-Cross
other lands seems to have arisen at a very early date. The Franciscans began to build a series of outdoor shrines in Europe to duplicate their counterparts in the Holy Land. this made it  very convenient for the faithful to enact the Passion of the Lord, without leaving their homeland. At the beginning the stations varied between eleven and thirty. Pope Innocent X1 granted the Franciscans to erect stations in all their churches and in 1731 Pope Clement X11 extended the permission to all churches. The number of station now is 15; the fifteenth station commemorates the Resurrection of Jesus. The Stations of the cross may be done at any time, but most commonly during Lent and on any Friday of the year.
Fr. David O.P.

Cold and flu season

January 26th, 2014