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Holy Week in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati

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On Tuesday, March 27, the Chrism Mass will take place at St. Peter in Chains Cathedral at 7 p.m., with Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr as celebrant. At the Chrism Mass, the archbishop is joined by the priests of the diocese. This Mass manifests the unity of the priests with their bishop. During the Mass, the archbishop blesses three oils — the oil of catechumens, the oil of the infirm, and holy chrism— which will be used in the administration of the sacraments throughout the archdiocese for the year.

The ancient service of Tenebrae will take place at St. Peter in Chains Cathedral at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 28. Tenebrae is a prayer service centered on 15 candles, one of which is extinguished after each of the nine psalms of Matins and the five of Lauds, gradually reducing the lighting throughout the service. The six altar candles are put out during the Benedictus, and followed by any remaining lights in the church. The last candle is hidden beneath the altar, ending the service in total darkness. The strepitus (Latin for “great noise”), made by slamming a book shut, banging a hymnal or breviary against the pew, or stomping on the floor, symbolizes the earthquake that followed Christ’s death, although it may have originated as a simple signal to depart. After the candle has been shown to the people, it is extinguished, and then put “on the credence table,” or simply taken to the sacristy. All rise and then leave in silence.

The summit of the liturgical year is the Easter Triduum — from the evening of Holy Thursday to the evening of Easter Sunday. Though chronologically three days, they are liturgically one day, unfolding for us the unity of Christ’s paschal mystery. The single celebration of the Triduum marks the end of the Lenten season, and leads to the Mass of the Resurrection of the Lord at the Easter Vigil. The Easter Triduum begins on Holy Thursday, March 29. The Liturgy of the Lord’s Supper will take place at 5 p.m. at St. Peter in Chains Cathedral. Bishop Joseph R. Binzer will be the celebrant. Masses will take place throughout the archdiocese, with adoration and a time for quiet prayer and reflection following the liturgy. At Holy Cross-Immaculata in Mt. Adams, adoration will take place until 11:59 p.m. At midnight, the Blessing of the Steps will take place.

Good Friday, March 30: There are no Masses on Good Friday. Yet, on this day there are many ways to reflect on Jesus Christ’s Passion. At Holy Cross-Immaculata, for over a century, year after year on Good Friday, thousands of pilgrims of various faiths have been praying “The Steps” of Mt. Adams to Immaculata Church. The “Good Friday Steps” are a symbol of hope to millions of devout souls. At St. Peter in Chains Cathedral, the liturgy of the Lord’s Passion will take place at noon, with Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr as celebrant. Later that day, at 5:15 p.m., the cathedral will have Stations of the Cross. The ancient service of Tenebrae will be held at Old St. Mary in Over-the-Rhine at 7 p.m. At Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Parish in Dayton, there is a Taize prayer service at 7 p.m.

There are several unique events on Holy Saturday, March 31. In Dayton, Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Parish will have Women’s Holy Stations of the Cross at 7:40 a.m., 8 a.m. and 8:20 a.m. at Mount St. John- Bergamo (arrive 10 minutes before the start time). The Men’s Holy Stations of the Cross hike will take place at 11:30 a.m. and 11: 50 a.m. at Calvary Cemetery (arrive 10 minutes before the start time.) For more information, visit www.icparishdayton.org/events. Blessing of the Baskets will take place at noon at Old St Mary in Over-the-Rhine. Blessing of the Easter Food will occur at 12:45 p.m.at St. Peter in Huber Heights, and at 4:00 p.m. at St. Adalbert in Dayton. From noon until 3:00 p.m. there is the vigil at the tomb at Holy Cross Parish in Dayton.

Easter Vigil consists of the Service of Light, the Liturgy of the Word, Christian Initiation and the Renewal of Baptismal Vows. Because the new liturgical day begins at sunset, the vigil begins between sunset on Holy Saturday and sunrise on Easter Sunday outside the church, where an Easter fire is kindled and the paschal candle is blessed and then lit. This paschal candle will be used throughout the season of Easter, remaining in the sanctuary of the church or near the lectern, and throughout the coming year at baptisms and funerals, reminding all that Christ is “light and life.” At St. Peter in Chains Cathedral Easter Vigil begins at 8:45 p.m. with Archbishop Schnurr as celebrant.

Easter Sunday, April 1: The schedule at St. Peter in Chains Cathedral is Mass at 8:30 a.m., and choir Mass at 11 a.m., with Bishop Binzer as celebrant. At Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Parish in Dayton, the annual Rock with the Risen Christ Mass takes place at 6 p.m.

For a comprehensive listing of Holy Week Mass times, special liturgies, confession times, and other unique events throughout the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, click here for The Catholic Telegraph’s online Mass calendar.

The staff of “The Catholic Telegraph” wishes you a blessed Holy Week and Easter season.

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