Holy Week

Pope Benedict and the Shroud of Turin

Shroud-of-turin Pope Benedict is one of those rare individuals who although steeped in philosophy and theology can express these complex and profound truths in a spiritual and pastoral way.

His Holiness made a pilgrimage to see the Shroud of Turin and his words not only about the Shroud, but about the importance of Holy Saturday make for very prayerful reading. At Holy Cross, we have tried to give Holy Saturday its due importance in the Triduum - the time of soul searching and questioning the meaning of Jesus' life by disciples who hadn't understood anything about the resurrection. Even though we pray morning prayer on Saturday, the church is soon alive with the preparations for the Easter Vigil.

The pope begins his meditation by exclaiming that as he makes this pilgrimage, he carries the whole Church, indeed all of humanity in his heart.  Read his thoughts and save them for Holy Saturday, or any day that seems too dark.

Pope Benedict XVI's remarks after viewing the Shroud of Turin

Easter Vigil Services Tonight at 8 PM

Paschal_candle Please join us tonight for a celebration of the beginning of Easter at the Easter Vigil services beginning at 8 PM. It is imperative that the ceremony begins after darkness, as the blessing of the new fire and the new Paschal Candle illumine the church.

This year we will welcome twelve new members into the fullness of the Catholic faith: several will be baptized, many will be confirmed and all will receive first Holy Communion. These baptisms, confirmations and communions are always a source of great joy.

Beginning tonight, we will also return to distributing Eucharist under both species at weekend masses.

Holy Saturday Morning Prayer, Blessing of the Easter Food and Ephphatha Rite

A sealed tomb entrance in Palestine On Holy Saturday, morning prayer will begin in the Church at 9 AM followed immediately by the Blessing of the Easter Food and the Ephphatha Rite (for the Aramaic, "Be Thou Opened'). Our RCIA team will gather for the last time before the Solemn Easter Vigil this evening at 8 PM. 

The Ephphatha Rite recalls Jesus' healing of the man born deaf and mute and confers a blessing of those to be received into the fullness of the Catholic faith to enable them to be faithful witnesses to the truth.

The tabernacle is empty, the altar is bare, the statues and furniture has been removed and before the decoration for Easter begins, it's important to spend time as if we were present at Jesus' sealed tomb, grieving and doubting that he was the Messiah. 

Holy Cross Church Rumson After Good Friday Service showing empty tabernacle and bare altar

Tenebrae Service on Good Friday

Candles will be extinguised at Tenebrae Services on Good Friday   Tonight at 7 PM we will pray Tenebrae services, a liturgy of sacred song and reflection on the passion and saving death of Jesus. There are several variations of the liturgy, but we will begin with lit candelabra providing the only illumination in the church. One by one, after an interlude of prayer and song, the candles are extinguished until at the service's conclusion, the church is in darkness.

Tenebrae is Latin for shadows or darkness and it symbolizes the darkness which enveloped the world after Jesus death, until his resurrection broke through the darkness on Easter morn.

The Triduum - Good Friday - The Veneration of the Cross

Pencil study for Christ Crucified by Rev Michael Manning The tabernacle is empty, the altar is bare, even the furniture and the statues are gone.

Once more we will read the Passion and this time,be invited to venerate the wood of the cross, "on which hung the Savior of the World," as the liturgy proclaims.

If we're not careful, the veneration becomes perfunctory, a kind of quick kiss you give your maiden aunt before saying goodbye. We need to slow down; this gesture really matters.

The modern world puzzles over the meaning and purpose of suffering, and surely there are no easy answers. 

But standing at the foot of the cross on Good Friday is a very good place to begin looking for one.

The Triduum - Maundy Thursday

bowl used for foot washing on Holy Thursday or Maundy Thursday during the Triduum of Holy Week Tonight's Mass of the Lord's Supper marks the beginning of the Triduum, the three most sacred days in the Catholic church's liturgical calendar.

Holy Thursday has also been called "Maundy" Thursday, probably from an English derivative of the Latin phrase mandatum, or command - for the new command that Jesus gives in John's gospel to Love one another and to serve others, shown best by his example of washing the feet of his disciples.

A tradition at Holy Cross has been for the RCIA candidates to have their feet washed at the mass, which begins with the reception of the three Holy Oils blessed by the bishop and priests at the Chrism mass earlier in the week. The Oil of the Sick, the Sacred Chrism and the Oil of Catechumens will be received and placed in the ambry, ready for their first use at the Easter Vigil on Saturday evening.

Since the mass commemorates the Last Supper, Holy Thursday has also been seen as Jesus' institution of the priesthood.

Tonight's mass will mark the our return to the distribution of communion under both species, the cups having been eliminated during the scares of the swine flu season. At the conclusion of mass, the Blessed Sacrament will be removed from the church and processed to a chapel of reservation in the St. Michael Media Room in the school. This temporary chapel will be open for prayer and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament until 11 PM which concludes the evening with night prayer.

The sight of the empty tabernacle in the church is always a stark sight. 

More Pictures of Holy Cross Palm Sunday Procession

It is PALM (or Passion) Sunday After All!

Palm Branches Waving and Being Blessed At Holy Cross Palm Sunday Procession

Here are a couple more photos of Palm Sunday's procession courtesy of Sean Smyth.

Despite the wind, the candles we carried did not blow out!

Palm Sunday Procession Crosses Bridge from Sea Bright to Rumson NJ
Procession Leaders Wait for the Rest of the Procession to Cross the Bridge

Young people carry banners in Palm Sunday Procession Holy Cross Rumson
  With Police escort, the Procession heads by the Sea Bright Service Station on the way to the Bridge.

We actually distributed some palms to passers-by this year.


I think everyone loves when we cross the Bridge.

This photo courtesy of Lori LaPlante

Crossing the Shrewsbury River in Palm Sunday Procession 2010


Monday of Holy Week - Lazarus Causes A Commotion

Scholars agree that it was Jesus' raising of Lazarus that finally marked him for death and set the plans in motion to silence him forever. Jesus' fame already widespread, became even greater after this miracle, and his criticism of religious leaders of the day stirred hatred and conspiracy. In this morning's gospel, Jesus dines with Lazarus while a curious crowd, including some of the Scibes and Pharisees, seek a glimpse of the new celebrity.

This etching by Rembrandt depicts the drama of Jesus' raising of Lazarus and the almost dream like sleep of death from which Lazarus is beckoned by Jesus.

Rembrandt_etching Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead