Holy Week and Easter 2018

23 Mar 2018

Please see below details of liturgies in dioceses, Scripture readings, and the schedule of Pope Francis for Holy Week and Easter 2018.

During Holy Week (beginning Palm Sunday 25 March) 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 beginning of the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday. The Easter Triduum then begins.

Details of Ceremonies in Dioceses for Holy Week 

We have shared below some of the highlights of services for Holy Week and Easter. 

Archdiocese of Armagh

Holy Thursday
7:00pm The Lord’s Supper in Armagh Cathedral
7:30pm The Lord’s Supper in Saint Malachy’s, Tullysaran and Knockaconey

Good Friday
3:00pm Stations of the Cross in Knockaconey
3:00pm The Passion in Cathedral, Saint Malachy’s and Tullysaran
7:30pm Stations of the Cross in Saint Malachy’s and Tullysaran
7:30pm The Passion in Knockaconey

Holy Saturday
10:00am Morning Prayer in Cathedral
9:00pm Easter Vigil in Cathedral

Archdiocese of Dublin

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin will be the principal celebrant for the following Masses in Saint Mary’s Pro-Cathedral, Dublin:

11.00am Mass on Palm Sunday

10.30am Chrism Mass on Holy Thursday

6.00pm Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday

3.00pm Celebration of the Lord’s Passion on Good Friday

9.00pm Easter Vigil Mass on Holy Saturday

11.00am Mass on Easter Sunday

Archbishop Martin will also lead the Ecumenical Way of the Cross on Good Friday, proceeding from Christchurch Cathedral at 7.15pm to the Pro-Cathedral.

See full schedule for Saint Mary’s Pro-Cathedral, Dublin, here.

Holy Week and Easter in Dublin Parishes
A list of parish Liturgies and events for Holy Week & Easter has been published online.  Please visit the diocesan website at www.dublindiocese.ie/holy-week-easter-in-parishes 

Archdiocese of Tuam

The following services will take place in the Cathedral of the Assumption, Tuam. 

Palm Sunday   
6.00pm – Vigil Mass                                                      
Palms will be blessed at all Masses (8.30am, 10.30am, and 12.30pm (

Holy Monday                     
10.00am- Mass of the Day.
2.30 pm – Mass for the Sick with Anointing of the Sick.
7.30 pm – Holy Week Reconciliation Service.              

Holy Tuesday     
10.00am- Mass of the Day.

Spy Wednesday 
10.00am- Mass of the Day.
6.00 pm – Chrism Mass.

Holy Thursday  
10.00am – Morning Prayer.
8.00 pm – Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper followed by Eucharistic Adoration until Midnight.

Good Friday       
10.00am – Morning Prayer.
12.30pm – Stations of the Cross – with Church of Ireland Bishop and parishioners
3.00pm – The Celebration of the Lord’s Passion.
8.00pm – Prayer Around The Cross.               

Holy Saturday   
10.00am – Morning Prayer.
12.00pm – Polish Blessing of Easter Food Baskets Swieconka.
9.00pm – The Easter Vigil in the Cathedral.

Easter Sunday                    
Cathedral Mass times:  8.30am, 10.30am and 12.30pm

March 26 Holy Week Reconciliation Service – 7.30pm
After 10.00am each Mass  – Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of Holy Week.
After the Good Friday 3.00pm Celebration of the Lord’s Passion.
12.00 – 3.00pm on Holy Saturday.

Diocese of Ardagh and Clonmacnois

Easter Ceremonies at Saint Mel’s Cathedral, Longford, 2018

Chrism Mass, Holy Thursday 29 March, 11.00am

Mass of the Lord’s Supper, Holy Thursday 29 March, 7.30pm

Celebration of the Lord’s Passion, Good Friday 30 March, 3.00pm

Stations of the Cross, Good Friday 30 Mass, 7.30pm

Taizé Prayer around the Cross, Good Friday 30 March, 9.00pm

Blessing of Polish Easter Baskets, Holy Saturday 31March, 1.00pm

The Easter Vigil, Holy Saturday 31 March, 9.30pm

Diocese of Clogher

Click here to see the full schedule of Easter ceremonies in the Diocese of Clogher.  The following ceremonies will take place in Saint Macartan’s Cathedral in the Diocese of Clogher:

Holy Thursday
Mass of the Lord’s Super, 7.30pm. 
The Cathedral will remain open until 11.00pm for Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, concluding with Night Prayer at 10.45pm.

Good Friday
Celebration of the Lord’s Passion in at 3.00pm and 7.30pm.

Holy Saturday
Easter Vigil at 8.00pm.

Easter Sunday
Usual Mass times.

Diocese of Cloyne

Bishop William Crean will be presiding at the following ceremonies for Holy Week in Saint Colman’s Cathedral, Cobh

Palm Sunday
Mass at 10.00am.

Spy Wednesday 
Mass of Chrism with Bishop, priests and people of the Diocese 7.30pm.  All Holy Oils Blessed.

Holy Thursday 
Solemn Mass of the Lord’s Supper and Procession to the Altar of Repose 7.30pm.

Good Friday 
Solemn Celebration of the Lord’s Passion at 3.00pm in the Cathedral

Holy Saturday
Easter Vigil at 9.00pm

Easter Sunday
Mass at 12noon

Diocese of Elphin

The following liturgies for Holy Week will take place in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Sligo. The Cathedral Choir will provide the music for main liturgies during Holy Week.  Bishop Kevin Doran, Bishop of Elphin will be the main celebrant or presider at the following:

Spy Wednesday: Mass of Chrism at 7.30pm

Holy Thursday: Morning Prayer at 10.30am
Mass of the Lord’s Supper at 7.30pm

Good Friday: Morning Prayer at 10.30am
Celebration of the Lord’s Passion at 3.00pm 
Stations of the Cross at 8.00pm

Holy Saturday: Morning Prayer at 10.30am
Blessing of Food for Polish Community at 2.00pm
Easter Vigil at 9.00pm

Easter Sunday: Mass of the Lord’s Resurrection at 12.00noon

Diocese of Galway

For a full list of services in the diocese, please click here. The following liturgies for Holy Week will take place in the Cathedral of Our Lady Assumed into Heaven and Saint Nicholas in Galway:

Holy Thursday: Mass of Chrism 11.00am
                         Mass of the Lord’s Supper 8.00pm
                         Adoration to 10.00pm

Good Friday: The Lord’s Passion 3.00pm
                     Stations of the Cross 8.00pm

Holy Saturday: Easter Vigil 9.00pm

Easter Sunday: Masses – 9.00am, 10.00am (as gaeilge), 11.00am & 12.00pm

Confessions/Penitential services:  

Thursday: 4.30pm– 6.00pm & after 8.00pm Mass of Last Supper

Friday: 11.00am – 12noon & after 3.00pm Ceremony

Saturday: 11.00am – 1.00pm & 3.00pm – 5.00pm

Diocese of Killala

Bishop John Fleming will preside at the following Holy Week and Easter ceremonies in Diocese of Killala:

Tuesday 27 March 
Mass of Chrism in Saint Muredach’s Cathedral at  6.30pm

Holy Thursday 
Confessions at 11.00am
Mass of the Lord’s Supper in Saint Patrick’s Church at 7.00pm

Good Friday 
Liturgy for children at 12 noon.  
Good Friday Liturgy in Saint Muredach’s Cathedral at 3.00pm 

Holy Saturday   
Confessions at 12 noon
Easter Vigil in Saint Muredach’s Cathedral at 8.30pm

Easter Sunday   
Mass of the Resurrection at 11.00am

Diocese of Meath

All the major Holy Week ceremonies will take place at the Cathedral of Christ the King, Mullingar.  

These include the Chrism Mass which will be celebrated by Bishop Michael Smith and the priests of the Diocese of Meath on Wednesday at 7.00pm.

Bishop Smith will celebrate at the Mass of the Last Supper in Saint Mary’s Parish, Navan on Holy Thursday at 8.00pm and the Passion of the Lord on Good Friday at 3.00pm, also in Navan.  He will preside at the Easter Vigil at 9.00pm on Holy Saturday in the Cathedral of Christ the King, Mullingar.

Good Friday liturgies take place in virtually every church in the Diocese of Meath.   

Outdoor stations of the cross will take place in nine parishes – Bohermeen, Castlepollard, Clara, Collinstown, Drumraney, Longwood, Mullingar, Navan and Tullamore.

For the full schedule of Easter ceremonies in the Diocese of Meath please click here.

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. 

In the Archdiocese of Armagh, Dawn Mass will take place in Ardboe Parish in Co Tyrone at 6.00am on Easter Sunday.

In the Diocese of Elphin, Dawn Masses will take place in Knocknarea, Co Sligo at 7.ooam and Loughnanéanne Park (site of Old Abbey Ruin), Roscommon Town at 7.00am. Aughanagh Parish celebrates the Dawn Mass at Galilee Community, Tintagh, Boyle at approximately 6.00am (sunrise).  

Dawn Masses, Easter Sunday, in the Diocese of Ardagh and Clonmacnois 2018

Ardagh, Co. Longford, – Village Square, 6.00am

Athlone, Co. Westmeath – Coosan Point, 6.00am

Athlone, Co Westmeath – St Mary’s Church, Polish Community, 8.00am

Drumshanbo, Co. Leitrim – Poor Clare Convent Garden, 6.00am

Granard, Co. Longford – The New Cemetery, 6.00am

Killenummery, Co. Leitrim – Creevelea Abbey, Dromahair, 6.00am

Longford Town – Saint Joseph’s Famine Cemetery, 6.00am

Newtownforbes, Co. Longford – Parish Cemetery, 6.00am

The following Dawn Masses will take place in the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin 

Clane Parish
Dawn Mass at the Abbey, Clane at 6am

Portlaoise Parish
Dawn Mass in The Heath at 6am, Main celebrant Bishop Denis Nulty.

Newbridge Parish
Dawn Mass at 6am

Graiguecullen Parish 
Dawn Mass in Oisín Park, Rossmore at 6am

Mountmellick Parish
Dawn Mass at 6.30am in Graigue Cemetery

Monasterevin Parish
Dawn Mass at 6.00a.m in grounds of Moore Abbey. Full Irish Breakfast after Dawn Mass

Dawn Masses in the Diocese of Kerry

There will be 6am Mass in Baile Riabhach, Dingle on Easter Sunday morning.

Eyeries & Ardgroom Parish will have a Dawn Mass on Easter Sunday at St. Kentigern’s Church, Eyeries at 6:00am.

DAWN MASS: Will be celebrated in Annagh Cemetery on Easter Sunday Morning at 6am to celebrate the Resurrection.  In the event of inclement weather Mass will be celebrated in St. Brendan’s Church, Curraheen.

Lixnaw Dawn Mass and Easter Fire at Kiltomey Cemetery, Lixnaw on Easter Sunday Morning at 6 am. On Easter Sunday morning people will come with prayer and respect remembering that St. Patrick lit the first Easter fire on the hill of Slane. We are also mindful that it was towards dawn and on the first day of the week that the empty tomb was discovered.  The lighting of the fire is of fierce significance and will be based on the opening verses of the Easter Proclamation. As the torch is passed from the Altar to the vicinity of the fire the words “Heavenly Powers – Rejoice O Earth – and sound the trumpet” will resound and the mighty beat of the all powerful drum will remind us that something special is about to unfold.  Then the lighting blazing fire will hopefully help us to connect with loved ones who have died and for whom heaven is now a reality through the Resurrection. We celebrate the generosity of so many people who make the Dawn Mass a reality.  The fire building team – the lighting team – the sound team – stewarding teams – Liam Quilter and family who provide parking. Finally thanks to Sean Dowling for allowing us the use of His field for the massive Easter Fire.

Dawn Masses on Easter Sunday will take place at the following locations in the Diocese of Meath:

Drumraney: Dawn Mass at 6.30am in the old cemetery

Fore Abbey: Dawn Mass at 6.00am

Kingscourt: Dawn Mass at 6.15am at the Mass Rock on Loughanleagh Mountain

Mullingar: Dawn Mass at 6.30am at Lough Ennell

Nobber: Dawn Mass at 6.00am in the old cemetery

Raharney: Dawn Mass at 6.00am

Tullamore: Dawn Mass at 6.00am at the site of the original parish church

Readings for Holy Week and Easter 2018:  

Monday in Holy Week 26 March 2018
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 27 March 2018
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 28 March 2018
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 29 March 2018
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 30 March 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 31 March 2018 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 1 April 2018 – 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 2018 

The Vatican has released the Pope’s schedule for Holy Week and Easter.  

Palm Sunday

Holy Week 2018 begins on Palm Sunday, 25 March, with the celebration of the thirty-third World Youth Day, celebrated at the diocesan level. The Church’s yearly celebration of young people alternates between international celebrations, held every two-three years, and diocesan events.

For the diocese of Rome, the celebration will take place in Saint Peter’s Square at 10.00am, with Pope Francis presiding at the Blessing of Palms and the Procession for Palm Sunday, followed by the Mass of the Passion of the Lord. 

Holy Thursday

There are two main liturgical events on Holy Thursday: the Chrism Mass, celebrated in Saint Peter’s Basilica at 10.00am; and the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper at 4.30pm, which the Holy Father will offer in the Regina Coeli prison, not far from the Vatican.

During the Chrism Mass, the local Bishop consecrates and blesses the Sacred Oils – Chrism, used for Confirmation, and also in the Sacraments of Baptism and Holy Orders; the oil of catechumens, also used in Baptism; and the oil of the sick, for the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick. In Rome, the blessed oils are taken to the Cathedral Church, the Archbasilica of Saint John Lateran, where they are dispensed to the parishes throughout the diocese.

On Thursday evening, Pope Francis will celebrate the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, commemorating the institution of the Most Holy Eucharist and of the Priesthood. Following a custom established at the very beginning of his pontificate, the Pope will say the Mass in a prison, this year at the Regina Coeli. During the liturgy, Pope Francis will wash the feet of twelve inmates, in imitation of the actions of Jesus Himself at the Last Supper.

The Pope will also have the opportunity to visit with sick inmates in the prison infirmary, as well as with prisoners in “Section VIII”, a protected area of the facility for prisoners who might be at risk in the general population.

Good Friday

The following day, Good Friday, Pope Francis will preside at the solemn liturgical Celebration of the Lord’s Passion at 5.00pm. The service on Good Friday is not a Mass, as the Holy Eucharist is not confected. The ritual consists in the Liturgy of the Word; the Adoration of the Cross; and the Rite of Communion, where Hosts consecrated on Holy Thursday are distributed to priests and faithful.

Following the Liturgy, Pope Francis will travel across town to the Colosseum, where he will officiate at the Via Crucis, the Way of the Cross at 9.15pm. The Holy Father will offer a reflection at the conclusion of the service, followed by his Apostolic Blessing.

The Paschal Vigil and Easter Sunday 

The rites of Holy Week reach their climax during the Easter Vigil of Holy Saturday, the “Mother of all Vigils.” The ceremony begins at 8.30pm with the lighting of the new fire, which will take place in the atrium of Saint Peter’s Basilica. Then, with the Paschal Candle, the ministers will process to the sanctuary, where Pope Francis will preside at the Solemn Mass. The Mass is notable for the chanting of the Exultet, the solemn proclamation of the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead; and for the Baptismal liturgy which takes place after the Liturgy of the Word.

Finally, on the morning of Easter Sunday, Pope Francis will celebrate the Solemn Mass of the Resurrection of the Lord in Saint Peter’s Square. Following the Mass, the Holy Father will give his Blessing Urbi et Orbi – to the City [of Rome], and to the world.”

[Source: vaticannews.va]

Bishops’ Messages and Homilies for Holy Week and Easter

Additional messages and homilies for Holy Week and Easter will be posted here as they become available.

Homily of Archbishop Eamon Martin for the Mass of Chrism

Homily of Bishop Kevin Doran for the Mass of Chrism 2018

Homily of Bishop Dermot Farrell for the Mass of Chrism 2018

Homily by Bishop Philip Boyce OCD for the Mass of Chrism 2018

RTÉ broadcasts

Holy Thursday  
16:40 RTÉ One (Broadcast with a delay, at 1900 on RTÉ Radio 1 Extra) 
Mass For The Lord’s Supper with a gathered congregation and choir from Saint Mary’s Church, Mountbellew, Co Galway.  The celebrant is Father Karl Burns. 55’ duration

Good Friday 
The Leap of Faith
2.30-3.00 (Repeated at 22.00)
Michael Comyn presents a special Easter programme, with guests, Dr Zuleika Rodgers (Trinity College Dublin) and Gerry Hoban, Director of Countdown to Calvary*.  1500-1600

RTE ONE  (Simulcast on RTÉ Radio 1 Extra/ LW252)

Solemn Liturgy For Good Friday

Church of the Annunciation, Clonard, Wexford

Celebrant: Father Barry Larkin. CC

Musical Director: Ruairi Byrne

Holy Saturday 
Easter Vigil Mass, Church of the Annunciation, Clonard, Wexford

Celebrant: Mgr Denis Lennon PP. 

Musical Director: Ruairi Byrne

2300-0015 RTE ONE (Simulcast on RTÉ Radio 1 Extra)

Easter Sunday
Mass from Gravesano, Switzerland – Live Eurovision Mass with commentary by Michael Kelly

1000-1100, RTE ONE (Broadcast with a delay, at 1100 on RTÉ Radio 1 Extra) 

Urbi et Orbi – Pope Francis’ Easter Message with commentary from Rome by Father Thomas McCarthy OP.


Easter Sunday Service 

1125-1210 (Broadcast with a delay, from 1200-1245 on RTÉ Radio 1 Extra, ex-Radioman) 


Countdown to Calvary

Actor and Cambridge Theology graduate, Hugh Bonneville, investigates the context, cast and consequences of the week that changed the world, the last six days of Jesus.