Tuesday, April 19, 2011

CCM Guide to Holy Week

Here are seven tips for getting the most out of your Holy Week:

1. Remember to PRAY. This week is the holiest on the Church's calendar. It is the perfect time to put forth an extra effort to pray, to seek God's guidance and blessing and to re-commit ourselves to our faith. Talk to God this week... and listen. One particular suggestion is to pray the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary each day this week. If you need some help in doing this, there are lots of great guides online. For example, there's a good one here.

2. Go the extra mile. As this week draws to a close, try to go the extra mile and offer extra sacrifices on Wednesday (traditionally called "Spy Wednesday" because it is assumed that Judas Iscariot made his deal with the Jewish authorities on this day), Holy Thursday (when we commemorate the Last Supper and Jesus' arrest), and Good Friday (when we remember the crucifixion and death of our Lord).

3. Re-read the passion narratives in the Gospels. Start today (Tuesday), and read a different Gospel's passion each day. Here's a suggested outline: Tuesday of Holy Week: begin at Mark 14; Spy Wednesday: begin at Luke 22; Holy Thursday: begin at Matthew 26; Good Friday: begin at John 12. Notice the different details of the events that different gospel writers have included and/or stressed. Spend a few minutes of prayerful meditation on our Lord's passion after the reading each day.

4. Fast from media. Try giving up the t.v. and internet on Good Friday and Holy Saturday. Just try it. You'll be amazed at the freedom and how conducive it is to prayer.

5. Go to Confession. Make a special effort to make a good confession this week, in the days before Easter.
NB: Fr. Joe will hear Confessions on Holy Thursday evening after the Mass, on Good Friday from 1:30 until 3:00pm and on Saturday from 6:30 until 7:00.

6. Pray the Stations of the Cross. Go by the church and pray the Stations of the Cross (yes - you can do this by yourself). Maybe you'll even be inspired to make it part of your weekly faith practice. After all, that's what they're there for. If you need a guide, here is a good one from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). Also, Fr. Joe will lead Stations of the Cross on Good Friday at 3pm in the church.

7. Attend the Triduum Liturgies. The last days of Holy Week (specifically Holy Thursday, Good Friday, the Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday) are known collectively as the Holy Triduum. Make plans now to attend these great services that serve as the pinnacle of the Church year. Also, invite (maybe even challenge?) a friend or family member to come with you.