During Holy Week, the Church celebrates the mysteries of salvation accomplished by Christ in the last days of his life on earth, beginning with his messianic entrance into Jerusalem. The Lenten season lasts until the Thursday of this week. The Easter Triduum begins with the evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday.
Readings for Holy Week and Easter 2016:
Monday in Holy Week 21 March 2016
Is 42: 1-7. Ps 26:1-3, 13-14, R/ v 1. Jn 12:1-11.
Our attention is now focused on the great mystery of Christ, dying and rising. The sense of impending doom hovers over the actions of Jesus. Like a lamb led to the slaughter, Christ does not cry out or shout aloud. Mary’s anointing becomes one of preparation of the body for burial after death. All things are being readied for the final hour. The chrism is prepared for blessing by the bishop this week: it will be used to sign new Christians with the Cross, to seal them for Christ.
Tuesday in Holy Week 22 March 2016
Is 49:1-6. Ps 70:1-6, 15, 17, R/ v 15. Jn 13:21-33, 36-38.
The words of Isaiah speak beautifully of our vocation in Christ. Chosen before birth, given great gifts of body and mind, called to be servant of the Most High, and destined to be a light of the nations so that Christ’s salvation may be brought to the ends of the earth. Such is our destiny. And yet, we can fail. We can reject this calling, give way to weakness. Both Judas and Peter in their weakness are put before us today, one to betray, the other to deny. So close to Jesus and yet capable of losing him.
Wednesday in Holy Week 23 March 2016
Is 50: 4-9. Ps 68:8-10, 21-22, 31, 33-34, R/ v 14. Mt 26:14-25.
Spy Wednesday we call it – for Judas has left his mark on our calendars. The pain of his betrayal is to be felt in the account of Saint Matthew’s Gospel. And thirty pieces of silver goes into language currency ever since. At the end of this lent, which has seen us trying to purify ourselves of all that is not Christian, these thirty pieces of silver come before us as a warning.
Holy Thursday 24 March 2016
Morning: Is 61:1-3, 6, 8-9. Ps 88:21-22, 25, 27, R/ v2. Apoc 1:5-8, Lk 4:16-21.
The Easter Triduum
Christ redeemed us all and gave perfect glory to God principally through his paschal mystery: dying he destroyed our death and rising he restored our life. Therefore the Easter Triduum of the Passion and Resurrection of Christ is the culmination of the entire liturgical year. The celebration of the paschal mystery is not simply a recalling of past events in history. It is a sacramental celebration that renders present and actualises the saving power of Christ’s death and Resurrection to the Church.
Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper
Ex 12:1-8, 11-14. Ps 115:12-13, 15-18, R/ cf. 1 Cor 10:16. Jn 13:1-15.
The Scripture readings this evening direct our minds at the opening of the great Paschal celebration to the meaning of what we celebrate. We are entering into this mystery in such a way that when we break bread and share this cup that we once more proclaim the death of the Lord. With this Mass of the Lord’s Supper the Church begins the sacred Easter Triduum and devotes itself to the remembrance of the Last Supper.
Good Friday 25 March 2016 Celebration of the Lord’s Passion
Is 52:13-53:12, Ps 30:2, 6, 12-13, 15-17, 25, R/ Lk 23:46. Heb 4:14-16, 5:7-9. Jn 18:1-19:42.
Saint John’s account of the Passion is more reflective and theological. He emphasises Jesus’ obedience to the Father’s will. The kingship of Jesus is asserted: the crucifixion is a victory, the hour of death is also the hour triumph. ‘Christ gives his life, he is “lifted up” on the Cross, but willingly’.
In contemplating the Cross of its Lord, the Church commemorates its own origin and its mission to extend to all peoples the blessed effects of Christ’s Passion that it celebrates on this day in a spirit of thanksgiving for his marvellous gift.
Holy Saturday 26 March 2016 Easter Vigil
In accord with ancient tradition, this night is one of vigil for the Lord. Saint Augustine called it ‘the mother of all vigils’. The Gospel of Saint Luke reminds the faithful to have their lamps burning ready, awaiting their master’s return, so that when he arrives he will find them wide awake and will seat them at his table.
There are several different elements to the Easter Vigil: The Service of Light, the Liturgy of the Word, Liturgy of Baptism and Liturgy of the Eucharist.
The new fire is blessed outside the church, and its flames should be such that they dispel the darkness and light up the night. All present hold candles to which the light of the new Paschal Candle is gradually passed. The Liturgy of the Word follows with readings from sacred scripture. Through the sprinkling with blessed water and the renewal of baptismal vows, the faithful recall the Baptism they have received. The celebration of the Eucharist which follows is in the fullest sense the Easter Sacrament, the commemoration of the sacrifice of the Cross and the presence of the Risen Christ.
Easter Sunday 27 March 2016 – Easter Day of the Lord’s Resurrection
Acts 10:34, 37-43. Ps 117:1-2, 16-17, 22-23, R/ v 24. Col 3:104 or 1 Cor 5:6-8. Jn 20:1-9.
‘Christ is risen, alleluia!’ This is the ancient Christian greeting on this day of great joy and happiness for all. Easter is not simply one feast among others, but the “Feast of feasts”.
Schedule of Pope Francis for Holy Week and Easter
The Vatican has released the Pope’s schedule for Holy Week and Easter. The Pope has traditionally celebrated the Holy Thursday Mass in a place that highlights a particular pastoral need. Last year, Pope Francis celebrated the Mass and foot-washing ritual at Rome’s Rebibbia prison where he washed the feet of 12 of the inmates.
The schedule released by the Vatican includes:
20 March 20: Palm Sunday Mass in Saint Peter’s Square
24 March: Holy Thursday, morning Chrism Mass in Saint Peter’s Basilica. *Information on Mass of the Lord’s Supper still to come.
25 March: Good Friday afternoon liturgy of the Lord’s Passion in Saint Peter’s Basilica. Night-time Way of the Cross in Rome’s Colosseum
26 March: Easter Vigil at 8.30pm in Saint Peter’s Basilica
27 March: Easter morning Mass in Saint Peter’s Square, followed by the papal blessing “Urbi et Orbi” (to the city and the world) This will be broadcast at 11.ooam Irish time.
2 April: Jubilee Prayer Vigil in Saint Peter’s Square for those devoted to the spirituality of Divine Mercy
3 April: Divine Mercy Sunday Mass in Saint Peter’s Square
For more information on the Pope’s schedule for Holy Week and Easter see www.vatican.va and www.news.va.
Bishops’ Messages and Homilies for Holy Week and Easter
- 24 March 2016: Homily of Bishop Philip Boyce for Holy Thursday Mass of Chrism in the Diocese of Raphoe
- 24 March 2016: Homily of Bishop Donal McKeown for Holy Thursday Mass of Chrism in the Diocese of Derry
- 24 March 2016: Homily of Bishop Seamus Freeman for Mass of Chrism in the Diocese of Ossory
- 24 March 2016: Homily of Bishop William Crean for Chrism Mass in the Diocese of Cloyne – ‘The Logic of Our Presence’
- 24 March 2016: Homily of Archbishop Eamon Martin for Chrism Mass in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh
- 24 March 2016: Homily Notes of Archbishop Diarmuid Martin for Mass of Chrism 2016
- 24 March 2016: Homily of Archbishop Michael Neary for Chrism Mass 2016
- 23 March 2016: Homily of Bishop Kevin Doran for Mass of Chrism
- 23 March 2016: Homily of Bishop Denis Nulty for Chrism Mass in the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin
- 23 March 2016: Bishop Philip Boyce message for Easter 2016: Peace to a broken world
- 22 March 2016: Easter Message 2016 from Bishop Kevin Doran
- 21 March 2016: A joint Holy Week and Easter message from the Archbishops of Armagh
Additional messages and homilies for Holy Week and Easter will be posted here as they become available.
Easter Sunday Dawn Masses
Many Irish dioceses and parishes will host Dawn Masses on Easter Sunday morning. Dawn Mass is a very spiritual opportunity to celebrate Mass while watching the dawn break over the countryside. Please click here for a list of Dawn Masses taking place around Ireland on Easter Sunday.
Services and Events in Dioceses for Holy Week and Easter 2016
Diocese of Ardagh and Clonmacnois
Saint Mel’s Cathedral, Longford
Holy Thursday 24 March
Chrism Mass at 11.00am
Mass of the Lord’s Supper at 7.30pm
Confessions: 8.30 – 9.30pm
Prayer before the Altar of Repose until Midnight
Good Friday 25 March
Celebration of the Lord’s Passion at 3.00pm
Stations of the Cross at 7.30pm
Confessions (after the Stations) until 9.30pm
Prayer around the Cross from 9.30pm – 10.30pm
Holy Saturday 26 March
Blessing of Food Baskets for Polish Community at 1.00pm
Confessions from 10.30am – 6.00pm
Easter Vigil at 9.00pm
Easter Sunday 27 March
Masses at 10.00am, 11.30, and 1.00pm
Diocese of Cloyne
Bishop William Crean, Bishop of Cloyne, will be presiding at the following ceremonies for Holy Week in Saint Colman’s Cathedral, Cobh:
Wednesday 23 March: Mass of Chrism with Bishop, priests and people of the Diocese 7.30pm. All Holy Oils Blessed.
Holy Thursday 24 March: Solemn Mass of the Lord’s Supper and Procession to the Alter of Repose 7.30pm.
Good Friday 25 March: Solemn Celebration of the Lord’s Passion 3.00pm in the Cathedral
Holy Saturday: Easter Vigil at 9.00 pm
Easter Sunday: Mass at 12.00 noon
Archdiocese of Dublin
Chrism Mass in the Archdiocese of Dublin: Priests and representatives from every parish will gather with Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, for 10.00am Mass on Holy Thursday 24 March in Saint Mary’s Pro Cathedral, during which Holy Oils are blessed for the coming year and the Renewal of Priestly Service takes place.
Way of the Cross on Good Friday: Archbishop Diarmuid Martin will lead the annual Way of the Cross procession in the Phoenix Park on Good Friday, 25 March at 12.00pm.
Good Friday Procession with the Cross from Christchurch Cathedral to Saint Mary’s Pro-Cathedral: Starting in Christchurch Cathedral with a short Service of Prayer at 7.15pm followed by procession through the City streets with the Cross carried by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin and Archbishop Michael Jackson. Concluding with Prayer Around the Cross in the Pro-Cathedral – with the meditative chants of the Táize Ecumenical Monastic Community.
Diocese of Elphin
Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Sligo
(Bishop Doran will be main celebrant at these liturgies except for Good Friday):
- Wednesday 23 March, Mass of Chrism, 7.30pm
- Thursday 24 March, Mass of the Lord’s Supper, 7.30pm
- Friday 25 March, Celebration of the Lord’s Passion, 3.00pm
- Saturday 26 March, Blessing of Food for the Polish Community, 3.00pm
- Saturday 26 March, Easter Vigil, 9.00pm
- Sunday 27 March, Mass of the Resurrection, 12.00pm
Saint Anne’s Parish, Sligo
Hunger Lunch, Spy Wednesday 12pm – 2.30pm in aid of South Sudan
Passion Play, 3pm, Good Friday
Kilbride Parish (Four Mile House)
The children of Scoil Bhride, Four-Mile House, will dramatise the Passion as in the Gospel of Saint John during the Good Friday ceremonies.
Diocese of Kerry
Baile an Fheirtéaraigh
Dráma na Páise will be performed at Séipéal Naomh Uinseann, Baile an Fheirtéaraigh, Good Friday 25 March at 8.00 pm.
Good Friday Castleisland Parish Church at 8.00pm: Solemn Celebration of the Passion.
Directed by Father Pat Ahern. The musicians and singers from Saint John’s Church, Tralee as well as 40 actors in costume will present a dramatic expression of the suffering and death of Christ. Communion will be distributed during the ceremony.
Stations of the Cross by candlelight: 9.30pm – 12 midnight in Castleisland Parish Church
Diocese of Killala
Monday 21 March: Penitential Service in Saint Muredach’s Cathedral at 8.00pm
Tuesday 22 March: Mass of Chrism in Saint Muredach’s Cathedral at 6.30pm. Celebrant. Bishop John Fleming.
Wednesday 23 March: Penitential Service in Saint Patrick’s Church at 7.00pm
Holy Thursday 24 March
Liturgy of the Last Supper:
Saint Muredach’s Cathedral @ 8.00pm
Saint Patrick’s Church @ 8.00pm
Celebrant: Bishop John Fleming.
Prayer at Altar of Repose until 11.00pm in the Cathedral and until 10.00pm in Saint Patrick’s Church.
Good Friday 25 March
Children’s Liturgy of the Passion in Saint Patrick’s Church at 12 noon
Liturgy of the Passion in Saint Muredach’s Cathedral at 3.00pm
Celebrant: Bishop John Fleming.
Saint Patrick’s Church at 8.00pm
Stations of the Cross in Saint Muredach’s Cathedral at 9.00pm
Saint Patrick’s Church: Easter Vigil @ 8.00pm
St. Muredach’s Cathedral: Easter Vigil @9.00pm
Celebrant Bishop John Fleming.
Special Children’s Mass for Easter Sunday at 10am in St. Patrick’s Church.
Easter Sunday Mass in Saint Muredach’s Cathedral at 11.00am.
Celebrant: Bishop John Fleming.
Diocese of Killaloe
Killaloe Diocesan Youth Council (KDYC) have been asked by Trócaire to be part of the celebration of Holy Thursday Mass on RTE One Television at 4:40pm on 24 March. Father Jerry Carey P.P., Doora-Barefield will be the celebrant and will preach the homily.
Diocese of Limerick
This years Chrism Mass will be held in Saint Johns Cathedral, Limerick on Wednesday 23 March at 7.00pm. There is always a special welcome for all preparing for Baptism (including Baptism of your child), and Confirmation, as the Holy Oils to be used in these sacraments will be consecrated by Bishop Leahy at that Mass.
This year Bishop Brendan would like to extend a particular welcome to those who give witness to the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. For instance, those working in the social service area or disability sector who assist with acts by which we help our neighbours with their material and physical needs.
We will be sharing additional information on events and services in dioceses for Holy Week and Easter as they become available.
Broadcast of Ceremonies
RTÉ Television and Radio
On Holy Thursday, Mass of the Lord’s Supper will be broadcast on RTÉ One Television at 4.40pm, with Father Jerry Carey leading parishioners from Doora-Barefield parish, Ennis, Co Clare in a Mass at the culmination of the Trócaire Lenten campaign for 2016. The same Mass is broadcast on RTÉ Radio 1 Extra / LW252 at 7.00pm.
On Good Friday, on Radio 1 Extra / LW252, at 2.00pm, the Solemn Liturgy for Good Friday will be broadcast from Saint Bartholomew’s Church of Ireland Church, Ballsbridge, Dublin. That liturgy will also be on RTÉ One Television at 3.10pm. On radio, it is followed, at 2.50pm, by a short programme about dating the Turin Shroud. Continuing on RTÉ Radio at 3.00pm, the Good Friday Liturgy of the Passion of the Lord will be broadcast from Saint Joseph’s Church, Ballybrown, Co. Limerick, with music from the Saint Joseph’s Church Choir. The celebrant is Father Michael Cussen.
On Holy Saturday, RTÉ will have a simulcast Easter Vigil Mass at 11.00pm from Saint Mary of the Angels Church, the Capuchin Friary, Church Street, Dublin. The celebrant then is Brother Adrian Curran, OFM Cap. RTÉ will also broadcast from the Capuchin Friary church on Easter Sunday morning at 10.ooam on RTÉ2 for Mass for Easter Sunday, which is a Eurovision broadcast (please note the channel change to RTÉ2 is due to the State ceremonial events on RTÉ One). The celebrant is Brother Peter Rogers OFM Cap. That Mass can be also be heard on RTÉ Radio 1 Extra / LW252 at the usual time of 11.00am and is followed at 11.55 by an Easter Sunday Service from Mahon Methodist Church in Portadown, Co. Armagh; with congregational singing and praise, led by the Rev. Ken Robinson.
BBC One Television
Friday 25 March 9.00am In the Footsteps of Judas Reverend Kate Bottley visits the places associated with the betrayal by Judas and with and death and asks: can Judas be forgiven?
Easter Sunday 27 March
- 10.00am Easter Sunday Worship live from Saint Alban’s Cathedral
- 11.00am Urbi et Orbi