Holy Week


This is my first Easter as an official Catholic.

Holy Week is the week leading up to Easter, correct?
Are any of these days Holy Days of Obligation?
I know Holy Thursday is like Ash Wednesday when we are encouraged to go, but not required. What about Good Friday? Or the rest of the days?

I haven’t heard anything in the announcements at my Parish. I assume that if there is anything, it will be announced this coming Sunday, but it’s a little short notice especially since some people are trying to plan a thing for Monday.


No, there are no obligation Holy Days within Holy Week, except of course for the Sunday obligation on Palm Sunday.


There are no days of obligation during Holy Week. I like to attend Mass on every day if possible, but that’s just me. However, Mass is not celebrated on Good Friday. Rather, it is called the “Liturgy of the Presanctified” because Holy Communion left over from Holy Thursday’s consecration is distributed.


Have you checked your Parish Bulletin? I’m sure they have printed up what on schedule for Holy Week. Usually Parishes have The Liturgy of the Hours (Morning Prayer); on Holy Thursday, Good Friday & Holy Saturday mornings. On Holy Thursday evening is the Mass of The Lord’s Supper which celebrates the Institution of the Holy Eucharist. At that Mass, 12 people will have their feet washed to reinact Jesus’s washings of the Apostle’s feet at the Last Supper. You will also hear the Priests renew their Priestly vows. On Good Friday, in addition to the morning prayer, you will have the Three Hourse of Agony, from 12N to 3PM. This is a time of contemplative reflection of Christ’s agony & death. A Priest or Deacon will speak on the Passion. Confessions are usually heard at this time. At 3PM, you will have the Passion Service, the Gospel Passion is read & you will have Communion. There is no Mass on Good Friday. On Holy Saturday, after morning prayer, there is the Blessing of


The Triduum begins on Holy Thursday.
There is one Mass this day…the Mass of the Lord’s Supper. It is a beautiful Mass with the Washing of the Feet of the 12 (12 people representing the Apostles) and at the conclusion of the Mass, we sing the Pange Lingua and have the transference to the Altar of Repose of the Eucharist. This is where one can spend an hour in prayer with the Exposed Eucharist in a location somewhere near the main sanctuary (a chapel, an Adoration room, or some other suitable place) that has been decorated to recall the Garden of Gethsemane. Many churches leave the host exposed for Adoration until Midnight or later. This recalls the request of Jesus for the Apostles to stay awake one hour with him to pray before He was led away to be put on trial.
Not a Holy Day of obligation, but a most beautiful Mass, and the commemoration of the institution of the Holy Eucharist. It’s a wonderful thing to go to this Mass.
On Good Friday there is no Mass. The tabernacle is empty. Jesus is not there. The tabernacle door is left standing open. It’s a very sad thing to see this. It really makes you stop and think. No genuflecting when you enter for this reason, although many people do out of habit. (Jesus at this point is being crucified) There may be Stations of the Cross at 3 PM, and also a Communion Service with the reading of the Passion as well, perhaps in the evening. At the beginning the Priests, Deacons, and acolytes prostrate themselves before the altar. Typically there is no singing except for the Psalm and the Reproaches. The reproaches may be sung during the Veneration of the Cross. For the Veneration, people get in line as they do for communion, and they come forward to kiss the cross. A lovely and moving thing to participate in. Holy Communion is offered using the pre-consecrated hosts, as the previous poster said. (Same hosts that were reposed the evening before). Attendees leave in silence.
Not a Holy day of Obligation, but a moving and beautiful service.
The Holy Saturday Vigil Mass is the Mass which begins at dark. The Easter fire is lit, and the new Easter candle is lit from it. Many small candles held by the faithful are lit from the new flame and the Candle is dipped in the Holy Water 3 times. There are many symbolic and beautiful images at this Mass. There are 7 readings that illuminate the history of our faith, beginning with the creation story along with our small hand held candles. The Gloria is sung again, and the lights come up! After not singing Alleluia for so long, a flurry of Alleluias ring out before the Gospel. After the Homily, those who are to be baptized and welcomed into the faith begin. Then come the Confirmations. Mass continues as usual, and if there are any First Communions, they happen, and then the entire congregation receives Communion. It’s a long GLORIOIUS Mass and something that everyone should attend if possible. Many people are not able to participate in such a lengthy liturgy, but if you are able to, it’s fabulous. If you are in RCIA, this is your big day!
Congratulations, many many blessings!

  1. A genuflection, made by bending the right knee to the ground, signifies adoration, and therefore it is reserved for the Most Blessed Sacrament, as well as for the Holy Cross from the solemn adoration during the liturgical celebration on Good Friday until the beginning of the Easter Vigil.



thank you.


You’re welcome.
And *mea culpa *for failing to cite what that is paragraph 274 of, viz. the GIRM.
(for those who had not figured it out)



Don’t forget about the Chrism Mass! This Mass is celebrated at your Diocesan Cathedral. It depends on the diocese but they are often on Wednesday evening or Thursday morning of Holy Week. If you are close enough to your cathedral, I encourage you to attend. This is the mass the holy oils are blessed and distributed to the parishes. Also at this mass, the priests will renew their vows.

Beginning with Palm Sunday and continuing through the Easter Vigil is the most wonderful week in the life of the church. I highly encourage you to attend all of the celebrations!


Our Chrism Mass is usually on Monday, as the farthest parish is 300 miles form the cathedral, and priests need to be in their parish for the Triduum. And it is at the Chrism Mass that they renew their vows.


Our Chrism Mass was this past Wednesday. Priests in our area have to fly in to the city where our Cathedral is and many wouldn’t make it home for the Mass of the Lord’s Supper if it was held on Holy Thursday or Wednesday of Holy Week. Usually our Bishop schedules meetings at that time to kill two birds with one stone, so to speak. When it costs anywhere from $650-$1000 dollars to fly to the Cathedral, you make sure that you don’t require your priests to fly there too often.


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