Holy Week 2014 - Text and Pictures

Source: St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary

Holy Week is the most important part of the liturgical year, for in it the Church recalls the Passion, death and Resurrection of Our Lord. The ancient ceremonies of this week, dating back to the Apostles, are very rich and unique. Every year at this time, the Seminary takes a break from classes to focus on the Passion of Our Lord found in the liturgy.

Palm Sunday

The Sunday before Easter commemorates the triumphant entry of Our Lord into Jerusalem met by the exultant crowds with a joyful procession of palms. Only days later, the same people who cried “Hosanna!” and acknowledged Him as King, will be shouting “Crucify Him, crucify Him!”


On the three days preceding Easter, the Church sings the offices of Matins and Lauds; these offices are called Tenebræ‎. They focus on the events of the last days of the Savior’s life: His betrayal, His death and burial, and the last day recalls His peaceful rest in the tomb.

Chrismal Mass

On Holy Thursday morning the Church consecrates the Holy Oils in a pontifical Mass. During the Canon, the bishop leaves the altar to perform the ceremony. Twelve priests in vestments, six deacons, and six subdeacons attend the bishop as he confects the Sacred Chrism.

Vesperal Mass

The evening of Holy Thursday marks the institution of the Eucharist and the ordination of the Apostles to the priesthood. Twelve seminarians representing the Apostles have their feet washed before the Offertory. The Mass concludes with a procession with the Blessed Sacrament to the altar of repose.

Good Friday Liturgy

In the afternoon liturgy on Good Friday, the Church contemplates the death of Our Lord. After the Passion is sung, the Church offers solemn prayers for the salvation of all men. The liturgy continues with the adoration of the Holy Cross followed by Communion. There is no Mass offered until Christ’s Resurrection.

Easter Vigil

On the night of Holy Saturday, the Church remembers the Resurrection of Our Lord. In the blessing of the Easter fire and the renewal of baptismal vows, and through the rest of the Mass, the Church expresses Her exultant joy at Christ’s conquest of death and sin.