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Holy Week: Catholics to celebrate the holiest and most solemn week and receive new members

A press release on the Green Bay Diocese website:

Catholics in the Diocese of Green Bay will join their Catholic brothers and sisters around the world in celebrating Holy Week and the Easter Triduum, April 17-24.

Liturgies during the most solemn week of the Church year will include Palm Sunday, Chrism Mass, and the Easter Triduum of the Passion and Resurrection of Jesus, which is the culmination of the entire liturgical year. The Easter Triduum begins with the evening Mass of the Lord's Supper, reaches its high point at the Easter Vigil and closes with Evening Prayer on Easter.

At Easter Vigil Masses, in parishes across the Diocese, 280 people will join the Catholic Church.

Palm Sunday
Holy Week begins April 17 on Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion. Parishioners will wave blessed palms in memory of Jesus entry into Jerusalem when he was greeted by throngs waving branches and shouting, "Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is the he who comes in the name of the Lord; hosanna in the highest." The Gospel will be St. Matthew's account of the Passion and death of Jesus on a cross.

Chrism Mass
Tuesday afternoon, Bishop David Ricken will concelebrate the annual Chrism Mass with the clergy of the Diocese. The Mass is a sign of the priests' unity and communion with their bishop. Bishop Ricken will bless the:

•oil of catechumens, used to anoint those preparing for baptism
•oil of the sick, used in the sacrament of the anointing of the sick
•Sacred Chrism, used in baptism, confirmation, the ordination of priests and bishops, church dedications, anointing of altars, and blessing of chalices and patens.

Deacons and representatives from each parish will participate in the Mass and receive the holy oils the bishop blesses to present at their parish at the start of the Holy Thursday liturgy.

Easter Triduum
Holy Thursday -- Celebration of the Mass of the Lord's Supper recalling Jesus' institution of the Holy Eucharist and the priesthood at a meal on the night before he died. The liturgy includes the washing of the feet of several community members, following the example of Jesus in washing his disciples' feet. After Communion, the Blessed Sacrament is taken in a simple procession to the "altar of repose," followed by private prayer and adoration.

Good Friday -- The liturgy begins with the Liturgy of the Word, including St. John's account of the Passion, followed by intercessions, the veneration of the cross and the reception of Holy Communion. (Good Friday is a day of fast and abstinence, click here for Lenten fast and abstinence rules)

Easter Vigil -- The liturgy celebrates the resurrection of Jesus from the dead and the victory over death it promises each of us. The liturgy includes the Light Service, the baptism of catechumens and reception into the church of those who have already been baptized into a different tradition and now make a full profession of faith as Catholics. Both catechumens and candidates also will receive the sacraments of Confirmation and Eucharist. This year, 52 catechumens and 228 candidates will join the Church in the Diocese.

Easter -- Masses during the day continue to celebrate Jesus' resurrection on Easter. Indeed, the Church's celebration of Easter will continue until Pentecost (June 12). The Easter Triduum ends with Evening Prayer on Sunday.

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