Tag Archive: holy week

turner glory in the cross coverI haven’t been reading much other than canon law for the past little while, but yesterday I did finally finish reading Paul Turner’s Glory in the Cross: Holy Week in the Third Edition of The Roman Missal (Collegeville, Minnesota: The Liturgical Press, 2011. 204pp).

I highly recommend it to anyone who is involved in the preparation of the Holy Week liturgies.  Turner goes through every rubric and prayer proper to the principal liturgies of Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion through to Easter Sunday Mass inclusive.

It is fascinating, from an historical perspective, to know the history of the prayers in use, and the development of the various rites to what we have today.  One thing I have come to appreciate after reading the book is that the changes we find in the new English translation of the Roman Missal do not concern only the translation of the words of the prayers.  Many of the rubrics have undergone revision in the Latin typical edition, in many instances clarifying things that maybe were unclear.

As a presider of the Holy Week ceremonies, I had – like many I suppose – the files of the liturgies on the computer, which didn’t need much editing from year to year.  Those really need to be discarded now, not just because the prayers have been revised, but the rubrics themselves are new.  Liturgy planners would do well to study carefully the liturgies of Holy Week in the new Missal, and to especially review the rubrics that are contained therein.  It’s good to remember that the Introductions to the rites and the rubrics within the rites are not just “helpful suggestions,” but are law, and are to be observed like all other laws in the Church.

Homily for Mass – Deschatelets Residence

3 April 2012 – 7.30am

[Readings: Is 49:1-6;  Ps 71;  Jn 13:21-33, 36-38]

One commentator on today’s Gospel suggests that what is distressing Jesus – making him “troubled in spirit” – during the Last Supper, is the affect that his disciples are going to have on each other because of their actions.  How will Judas’ betrayal affect the rest?  What about Peter’s denial?

 Jesus doesn’t hide from them what’s going to happen: “one of you will betray me” he tells them.

 In these hours before his passion, he is teaching his disciples – those who would be his apostles and messengers – that they are in as much need of healing and salvation as those to whom they will take his message.  His disciples will have to accept that fact, and they’ll have to learn to deal with the weakness and failures of each other.

 We gather at the supper table with the Lord, just as those first disciples did.  How do we view those around us?  How do we deal with the weakness, the sin, the failures of our brothers and sisters in the Lord?

 In all of this, there is an invitation to be immersed in the mercy of God.  The Lord, who chose weak and sinful disciples has chosen us too.  In his mercy, and with the power of his resurrection, we journey together.  Let us draw near to him who died for sinful people, so that he can redeem us, and so that we can share the message of salvation with the world.

 (See: http://godzdogz.op.org/2012/04/tuesday-of-holy-week-can-you-trust.html)

Holy Week in two and a half minutes …

Dominus Mihi Adjutor

Fr Stephen spotted this little gem, explaining Holy Week in well under three minutes. Even “professional” religious people could do with watching this, as a way to re-focus on essentials. This is when internet evangelization hits the bullseye.

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Homily for Mass – Deschatelets Residence

Monday 2 April 2012 – 7.30am

[Readings: Is 42:1-7;  Ps 27;  Jn 12:1-11


They gave a dinner for Jesus!  Perhaps we might expect that as Jesus prepared for his passion and death, he might have done other things than going to dinner with his friends.  But here he is, with Lazarus who had been raised, with Mary and Martha, loving others and receiving the love they offered him.  This is how he prepared for the hour of his death.

 Even when Judas needed to be corrected, Jesus didn’t focus on the fact that Judas was a selfish thief.  Rather, he focused on the love that Mary showed.   All the time, Jesus’ focus is on love.  This makes sense: his death is the ultimate expression of love for us.

 One way that we can enter into this Holy Week is to imitate Mary in the lavishness of her love.  In these days we can be generous in how we express our love for God and for others.  Perhaps this week, more than any other, as we contemplate the sacrificial love of Christ for us, we can be more lavish in our praise, our patience, our forgiveness, our generosity.

 May we imitate in our own lives the love that God has shown us in Jesus.

[h/t: The Word Among Us]


We also prayed for the new Archbishop of Brisbane at Mass here in Ottawa this morning!

This short video brings the reality of the crucifixion home … and our participation in it.



[h/t to Biltrix]


Homily for Mass – Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica, Ottawa

Saturday 31 March 2012 – 4.15pm

[Readings: Is 50:4-7; Ps 22; Philippians 2:6-11; Mk 14:1 – 15:47]

“Time disappears when someone we love is dying.  Day cedes to night without much notice.  Activities we have promised to do we discard instead, … Routines we never break cease.  Something else has taken our attention, is sitting on our brain, has bound our legs and lowered our head.  Nothing else is important but this person who gave meaning to our life and whose threatened passing wicks away the confidence that hitherto steadied our days. …” (Paul Turner, Glory in the Cross: Holy Week in the Third Edition of The Roman Missal, Collegeville, Minnesota, Liturgical Press, 2011, p. xv.).

 In a real sense, this is what the coming days that we call Holy Week should be like for us.  Our lives are different precisely because of Jesus Christ, and what he has done for us.  And so this coming week is a special week for Christians, as we spiritually journey with Jesus in that pivotal time of his passion, death and resurrection.

 So I invite you to allow this coming week to be different!  Allow yourself to set aside things you would normally do.  Break your normal routine.  There are 51 other weeks of the year to do what you normally do: let this week, Holy Week, be different to every other week.  We have here in the Cathedral on Tuesday evening at 7.30pm the beautiful Chrism Mass.  And then here and in all the parishes, the special liturgies of Holy Thursday evening, Good Friday, and the Easter Vigil and Sunday Masses.  Let Christ capture your attention this week.  Live this coming week in such a way that other people realize that “there really is something different going on this week!”

 This week is not just about an historical re-enactment, though.  It’s much more than that.  Through the Liturgies of Holy Week, as we recall past events, those events become present events, here and now.  Through the liturgies we enter into what is being celebrated.  And we enter into them not merely as spectators, but we enter into them as being our mysteries.

 We are called to be united with Christ so that when we gather at the table of his supper, we realize that we are to give our lives (our body and blood) in service of others.  When we are facing trials, even terrors, as Jesus faced in the garden of Gethsemane, we are to throw ourselves down before God and pray that his will be done, not ours.  We are called to take up our cross – manfully – and not to hide from or run away from the cross in our life.  When we are crucified by the actions of others, we are to learn to say “Father, forgive them, they know not what we do.”  And, most importantly, the promise made for fidelity to God’s will is resurrection!  New life, eternal life, is ours.  We gain the victory over sin, and ultimately over death, in Christ!  There can’t be any better news than that!

 As we live Holy Week, in a sense we’re living in microcosm the whole of our lives, and we’re opening ourselves to all that God wants to give to us, and claiming all that Christ has gained for us when he lived faithfully his life, passion, death and resurrection.

 Friends, lets ask God to help us enter fully into this sacred time so that it’s graces may abundantly flow in us.  Let’s ask Our Lady of Sorrows, who stayed always close to her son, to obtain for us the grace of total commitment, the grace to say “yes” completely to the will of God in our lives.