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 2019:
Monday in Holy Week 15 April 2019
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 16 April 2019
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 17 April 2019
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 18 April 2019
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 19 April 2019 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 20 April 2019 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 21 April 2019 – 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 2019
The Vatican has released the Pope’s schedule for Holy Week and Easter. Just like every year, Pope Francis will celebrate the main ceremonies during these days.
On Sunday 14 April 14, Palm Sunday, Pope Francis will celebrate Mass in St. Peter’s Square at 10.00am. He will begin by blessing the palms and olive branches at the obelisk in the center of the square. From there, he will continue with the procession to the altar accompanied by young people. For more than 30 years, Palm Sunday also marks World Youth Day in Rome.
The Easter Triduum begins on 18 April, Holy Thursday, with Chrism Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica.
In the afternoon, Pope Francis has chosen to go to a penitentiary center – the Velletri Prison – to celebrate the Mass of the Last Supper with rite of foot washing. He will wash the feet of 12 prisoners.
On 19 April, Good Friday, Pope Francis will celebrate the Passion of the Lord and adoration of the cross at 5.00pm in St. Peter’s Basilica. Then he will go to the center of Rome, to pray the traditional Way of the Cross at the Colosseum.
This year, the Pope has entrusted the meditations to a woman, Sr. Eugenia Bonetti, a Consolata missionary. She is president of the association “Slaves no more.” Since 2012, this organization combats all violence, discrimination and abuse against women. Therefore, these meditations will likely focus on human trafficking. At the end of the Way of the Cross, the pope will add some words and send the faithful forth with a blessing.
On Saturday night, at 8:30pm, Pope Francis will celebrate the Easter Vigil in St. Peter’s Basilica. He will baptize several people who are being welcomed into the faith.
Sunday April 21, Pope Francis will celebrate Easter Mass in St. Peter’s Square at 10.00am. At noon, he will impart the Urbi et Orbi blessing from the basilica’s central balcony.
Bishops’ Messages and Homilies for Holy Week and Easter
18 April 2019: Chrism Mass Homily of Bishop Kevin Doran
18 April 2019: Chrism Mass Homily of Archbishop Diarmuid Martin
18 April 2019: Chrism Mass Homily of Archbishop Eamon Martin
17 April 2019: Chrism Mass Homily of Bishop Dermot Farrell
15 April 2019: Chrism Mass Homily of Bishop Denis Nulty
13 April 2019: 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.
Details of Ceremonies in Dioceses for Holy Week
We have shared below some of the highlights of services for Holy Week and Easter. For full details on events in your diocese click on the relevant link here.
Archdiocese of Armagh
Archbishop Eamon Martin, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, will participate in the following liturgical ceremonies in Armagh this Holy Week:
- Holy Week Penance Service on Tuesday 16 April in Saint Malachy’s at 7.30pm
- Mass of Chrism on Wednesday 17 April at 7.00pm in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh.
- Mass of Lords Supper on Holy Thursday at 7.00pm in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh.
- Celebration of the Passion of Our Lord on Good Friday at 3.00pm in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh.
- Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday at 9.00pm in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh.
- Easter Sunday Mass in Saint Malachy’s Church, Armagh at 10.00am
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:
Sunday 14 April: Palm Sunday Mass at 10.00m
Wednesday 17 April: Mass of Chrism with Bishop, priests and people of the Diocese at 7.30pm. All Holy Oils Blessed.
Holy Thursday 18 April: Solemn Mass of the Lord’s Supper and Procession to the Altar of Repose 7.30pm.
Good Friday 19 April: Solemn Celebration of the Lord’s Passion at 3.00pm
Holy Saturday 20 April: Easter Vigil at 9.00pm
Easter Sunday 21 April: Mass at 12 noon
Archdiocese of Dublin
Way of the Cross Procession
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin will led the Way of the Cross through the Phoenix Park on Good Friday 19 April. The procession will proceed from Wellington Monument at 12.00pm to the Papal Cross in the Phoenix Park.
Good Friday Ecumenical Walk from Christchurch to Pro- Cathedral
On Good Friday evening, April 19 Archbishop Diarmuid Martin and Archbishop Michael Jackson, Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin, will once again lead a silent walk through Dublin’s city streets carrying a cross from Christchurch Cathedral to St Mary’s Pro-Cathedral. This begins with a moment of prayer in Christchurch at 7.15pm after which the two Archbishops will quietly lead us through the city centre as they carry the cross of the ecumenical monastic community of Taizé across the Liffey to St Mary’s arriving around 8pm. Those who wish can stay in the Pro-Cathedral for a meditative Prayer around the Cross with the chants of Taizé which lasts approximately an hour. All are welcome.
Glasnevin – Ecumenical Way of the Cross
The Glasnevin Grouping of Parishes together with St. Mobhi Church of Ireland Parish are organizing an Ecumenical Way of the Cross on Good Friday, 19th April, beginning at 12.00 noon outside the Margaret Aylward Centre for Faith and Dialogue, Old Finglas Road and finishing in the forecourt of Our Lady of Dolours church, Glasnevin, followed by a solidarity lunch (proceeds towards flood victims in Mozambique and Malawi) in the parish centre.
Enniskerry- Ecumenical Way of Cross
Enniskerry parish will proceed with their Ecumenical Way of Cross through the village on Good Friday, 19 April beginning at 11.00am in from St Mary’s Catholic Church to St Patricks, Church of Ireland. Led by Fr Bernard Kennedy, St Mary’s & Rev Cathy Hallisey, Rector Powerscourt with Kilbride.
Rathfarnham Ecumenical Walk for Justice
The Ecumenical Walk for Justice will take place at 9.30am Good Friday morning. The walk will start at the C.O.I. Rathfarnham, walking to Church of the Holy Spirit, Ballyroan & finishing at the Annunciation, Rathfarnham.
Rathmines – Ecumenical Outdoors Way of the Cross
Join Rathmines Parish on Good Friday, 19 April 2019, beginning at 12.30pm in the forecourt of the Mary Immaculate Refuge of Sinners Church, Rathmines and ending outside St. Finian’s Lutheran Church around 2.30pm.
Meath Street Passion Play
This year the Meath Street Passion Play will take to the streets for the trial and crucifixion. The play starts in Gray Street at 3.00pm and moves onto Meath Street to the church where the trial and crucifixion will take place outside the church door. After the play we will go into the church for the veneration of the Cross and Holy Communion
Good Friday night at 8.00pm we have our Stations of the Cross done with real people acting out the stations and beautiful thought provoking meditations being read.
Click here for more on Holy Week and Easter services in the Archdiocese of Dublin.
Diocese of Kerry
Click here for details of all the services taking place in parishes in the Diocese of Kerry.
Diocese of Killlala
Monday 15 April: Mass of Chrism in St. Muredach’s Cathedral at 6.30pm. Celebrant is Bishop John Fleming, Bishop of Killala.
Holy Thursday 18 April: Liturgy of the Last Supper:
- St. Patrick’s Church @ 7.00pm with Celebrant Bishop John Fleming.
- St. Muredach’s Cathedral @ 8.00pm
Prayer at Altar of Repose until 12 midnight in the Cathedral and until 9.30pm in St. Patrick’s Church
Good Friday 19 April:
- Children’s Liturgy of the Passion in St. Patrick’s Church at 12 noon
- Liturgy of the Passion in St. Muredach’s Cathedral at 3.00pm with Bishop John Fleming presiding
- Liturgy of the Passion in St. Patrick’s Church at 7.00pm
- Stations of the Cross in St. Muredach’s Cathedral at 8.30pm
Holy Saturday 20 April:
- St. Patrick’s Church: Easter Vigil at 8.00pm
- St. Muredach’s Cathedral: Easter Vigil at 9.00pm with Celebrant Bishop John Fleming.
Easter Sunday 21 April:
- Dawn Mass in Leigue Cemetery, Ballina at 6.00am
- Special Children’s Mass for Easter Sunday at 10.00am in St. Patrick’s Church
- Masses in the Cathedral: 8.30am, 11.00am (Celebrant. Bishop John Fleming) & 12.30pm
- Masses in St. Patrick’s Church: 10.00am & 12.00 noon
Diocese of Raphoe
- Holy Thursday 18 April – Chrism Mass will be celebrated at 11.00am by Bishop McGuckian, SJ with the Priests and people of the Diocese.
- Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Thursday 18 April in St Eunan’s Cathedral, Letterkenny at 8pm.
- Good Friday 19 April – Passion Service at 3.00pm
- Holy Saturday 20 April – Easter Vigil Mass at 9.00pm
All of the above ceremonies will take place in the Cathedral of Sts Eunan and Columba, Letterkenny at which Bishop Alan McGuckian, SJ will be the main-celebrant.
This section will be updated throughout Holy Week.
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.
Holy Week Broadcasts
Each year, RTÉ Television broadcasts Easter Liturgies, sometimes from their own studios, sometimes from a Church around the world, and sometimes from a church in Ireland. This year, two of their Easter Broadcasts will come from the College Chapel in St. Patrick’s College in Maynooth, Co. Kildare. Both Liturgies will feature a rich array of music from the Christian Liturgical tradition, including newly-composed settings by Ó Riada, McDonagh, O’Leary and the choir’s director, Dr John O’Keeffe.
For John, the director of sacred music in the college, the Easter ceremonies are a liturgical and musical highlight for Maynooth:
“All across the country, and, indeed, the world during the Triduum days, there are musicians endeavouring to do justice to the great events that we gather to celebrate. Here in Maynooth, we try to build on the foundations of two major traditions, the rich heritage of chant and choral music that has grown up with the Church’s Liturgies down the centuries, and the cultural devotional musical and language aspects of our native tradition.
Onto these each year, we try to graft on new musical elements, to help us grasp in a deeper way, the contemporary significance of the Christian story.
For this year’s Easter Triduum Celebrations, members of seminary choir are joined by staff, student staff and alumni singers from both university; and for all of us here involved in music in Maynooth, it is an honour and a privilege to us to be involved in this year’s broadcast of the Easter celebrations in our College Chapel.”
The College Chapel in Maynooth was built between 1875 and 1891 and was designed with the theme “Laus Deo” (Praise God) in mind. Everything in the Chapel points heavenwards, the arches, the ceiling, the windows and the finials; all keeping with the neo-Gothic design and it’s theme. It is the primary Church for ordinations from Maynooth, and since it’s foundation, over 11,000 priests have ministered in all corners of Ireland, and most parts of the globe. The College has undergone refurbishment over the years and most recently, saw it’s beautiful organ restored by Firm Fratelli Ruffatti of Padua, in Italy.
This year is a special year for close neighbours of St. Patrick’s College, Kairos Communications, who will be producing and broadcasting the two ceremonies for RTÉ. Although the company was founded over 40 years ago, this is their 20th year of working with both RTÉ and local parishes around the country to help broadcast Sunday Worship and Religious Ceremonies. Having worked closely with the College on other projects over the years, including the first Mass of the new Millennium in January 2000, they are looking forward to returning to the beautiful College Chapel to help broadcast and celebrate this most wondrous time in the Church’s year – the Resurrection of the Lord and the return of the Light of Christ.
Solemn Liturgy for Good Friday (RTÉ One Television and RTÉ Radio 1 Extra from 3.00pm to 4.15pm)
Easter Vigil Mass (RTÉ One Television and RTÉ Radio 1 Extra from 11.00pm to 12.40am.