Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Weekly Update from CCM: Holy Week edition

Dear Students,

Because of the Easter break, our normal schedule of weekly activities is on hold.  This means no supper at the Center this Wednesday, and also NO MASS ON CAMPUS for Easter Sunday.  Please enjoy Easter Mass at home with your family!

For those remaining in Cullowhee over break, here is the Holy Week schedule for St. Mary's.
EASTER SUNDAY: 9:00am & 11:00am

If anyone needs a ride to the parish for any of the above, or if you can offer a ride, please post to our Facebook Group so we can coordinate car pools.

A triduum is a three-day period of prayer, recalling the time that Jesus spent in the tomb.  The Easter (or Paschal) Triduum is the season that concludes Lent and introduces us to the joy of Easter.  It begins with the Mass of the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday, includes the Good Friday service, and concludes with the Vigil Mass of Resurrection of the Lord on Saturday night.  According to ancient custom, a day is considered to begin at sunset the day before, so even though by our modern time keeping the Vigil Mass is on Saturday, liturgically speaking, it falls on Sunday, the day of our Lord's Resurrection.

Here is a brief outline of the three days of the Triduum.

Holy Thursday
The evening Mass of the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday recounts both the institution of the Eucharist and the institution of the priesthood (underscoring the link between the two).  Just as Jesus washed the feet of the Apostles at the Last Supper, so the celebrating priest washes the feet of others during this Mass.  It concludes with a Eucharistic procession to an altar of repose, recalling Jesus' repose in the garden of Gethsemane before His passion.  The main altar in the church is stripped bare.

Good Friday
On this day we recall the death of Jesus.  It is a day of fasting and abstinence (just as Ash Wednesday).  Catholics between the ages of 18 and 59 are obliged to fast this day.  When fasting, a person is permitted to eat one full meal.  Two smaller meals (think "snacks") may be consumed if needed to maintain strength, but together they should not equal a full meal.  All Catholics age 14 and up are also obliged to refrain from eating meat (fish is ok).  If possible, this fast is to continue until the Easter Vigil on Saturday night, to honor the suffering and death of our Lord Jesus and to better prepare ourselves to more fully celebrate the joy of the Resurrection.

Mass is not celebrated on Good Friday.  Instead, the Church celebrates the Lord's passion and death with a service consisting of a Liturgy of the Word, Veneration of the Cross, and Holy Communion using the Eucharist that was consecrated on Holy Thursday.

Holy Saturday/Easter Vigil
On Holy Saturday the Church meditates on the suffering and death of Jesus.  Then, after sunset, the Church gathers to celebrate the Easter Vigil Mass, the highest and most solemn liturgical celebration of the Church year.  This great liturgy includes the lighting of the Paschal Candle, the proclamation of the Exsultet, and up to seven Old Testament readings and psalms which proclaim the story of God's love for us, leading up to the ultimate expression of that love in the sacrifice of His Son.  The Alleluia is sung again, bells are rung, and the entire Church rejoices at the triumph of our Savior over death.  The Easter Vigil Mass is traditionally when new members of the Church are baptized, and when all Christians renew their baptismal promises.  

For more information on the Easter Triduum, you may enjoy the following resources.
It is my prayer that each of you have a blessed Holy Week with family and friends, and safe travels over this break.  We will resume our normal campus ministry schedule when we return next week.  

God bless,

WCU Catholic Campus Ministry
Matthew Newsome, MTh, campus minister
(828)293-9374  |   POB 2766, Cullowhee NC 28723

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