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Archdiocese to mark Holy Week and Easter (Schedule)

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The cross is carried out during the recessional hymn at Palm Sunday Mass at the Cathedral of St. Peter in Chains on April 13. (CT Photo/E.L. Hubbard)

Press Release

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cincinnati will join Christians throughout the world in celebrating Holy Week, the most sacred time of the Church year, beginning with Passion Sunday (Palm Sunday) on April 13.  

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.

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


Tuesday of Holy Week, April 15: 7 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. Cincinnati Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr will preside and preach.

Wednesday of Holy Week, April 16: 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 17: 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. Cincinnati Auxiliary Bishop Joseph R. Binzer will preside and preach.

Good Friday, April 18: Noon, Liturgy of the Passion. Bishop Binzer will preside and preach.

Holy Saturday, April 19: 9 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 20: 11 a.m., Easter Day Mass with the Cathedral Choir.  Bishop Binzer will preside and preach.

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

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cincinnati is the 38th largest Catholic diocese in the country, with almost 500,000 Catholics, and has the seventh largest network of Catholic schools in terms of enrollment.  The 19-county territory includes 213 parishes and 113 Catholic primary and secondary schools.

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