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Archdiocese marks start of Holy Week

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April 2, 2012

The Archdiocese of Cincinnati joins Christians throughout the world in celebrating Holy Week, the most sacred time of the church year, beginning with Passion Sunday (Palm Sunday) on April 1.


Dale Jones, usher, passing out palms before Mass (CT/COLLEEN KELLEY)

Archbishop  Dennis M. Schnurr presided and preached.


The culmination of that week is known as the Triduum — a period of roughly 72 hours that begins with the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday and ends with Easter Vespers. Triduum means three days, for the Christian celebration of Easter really encompasses three days. Each of the days has its own particular tone, however.


The celebration of the Eucharist on Holy Thursday reminds us that we are rooted in the paschal experience of the Hebrews who to this day celebrate their passage from slavery and their entrance into the Promised Land within the context of one meal where the death and life of a people are relived.


Blessed palms. (CT/COLLEEN KELLEY)

The celebration of the Lord’s Passion on Good Friday confronts every Christian with that one authentic glory of God which is won for us by an obedience which works even unto death. The Alleluias of the Easter Vigil are all the more hearty because they rise from hearts which have gone down into the tomb of baptism.


Holy Week activities at the cathedral:
As the official church of the archbishop, the Cathedral of St. Peter in Chains, 325 W. Eighth Street, downtown Cincinnati, holds a special prominence in the worship life of the local church. Here is the Cathedral’s schedule for, Holy Week and Easter:

Tuesday of Holy Week, April 3: 7:00 p.m., Chrism Mass. At this Mass, the Archbishop blesses the oils that will be used in baptisms, confirmations and anointing of the sick at all parishes of the Archdiocese throughout the coming year. Archbishop Schnurr will preside and preach.


Wednesday of Holy Week, April 4: 7:30 p.m., Tenebrae Service. Tenebrae, Latin for “darkness,” is a special Holy Week service introducing the sacred Three Days: Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday.  The service consists of the praying of psalms, reading of Scripture, the chanting of the lamentations and the singing of the great Passiontide choral music.  Its mood is somewhat somber, quiet and reflective.  Its dramatic features are the gradual extinction of the lights and a 15-branch candelabrum in the center of the sanctuary as the church contemplates the temporary triumph of the prince of darkness over the world, and a loud noise at its conclusion suggesting the earthquake described in the passion narratives.  The choir of St. Peter in Chains Cathedral will sing under the direction of Anthony J. DiCello, music director.


Holy Thursday, April 5:  5 p.m., Mass of the Lord’s Supper. The unique event of this Mass is the washing of feet of selected participants, as Jesus washed the feet of His apostles.  Auxiliary Bishop Joseph R. Binzer will preside and preach.


Good Friday, April 6: Noon, Liturgy of the Passion. Bishop Binzer will preside and preach.


Holy Saturday, April 7: 8:45 p.m., Easter Vigil. Archbishop Schnurr will preside and preach. This is the Mass at which adults are baptized or received into the church.


Easter Sunday, April 8: 11 a.m., Easter Day Mass with the cathedral choir. Father Barry Windholtz, pastor of the cathedral, will preside and preach.


The liturgies of the Triduum are also celebrated in parishes throughout the Archdiocese.

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