Holy Week began with the pageantry and display of Palm Sunday, celebrated over seven weekend masses in English and in Spanish. But the quiet work is now taking place to ready Christ the Redeemer parish in Sterling VA for the Easter Triduum: Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Great Vigil of Easter on Holy Saturday. For those who come only on one of the four Easter Sunday masses, there is much that they might have missed, despite all who celebrate the life, death, and resurrection of the Lord.
Atonement Hall, the parish social hall that sits on the outlines of the old, smaller church, has been transformed into a second area for worship. A similar process is done during the Christmas Season when many more Catholics come to mass and there is a greater need to accommodate more parishioners and guests. Atonement Hall was used for Palm Sunday celebrations and will also be used for Easter Sunday. It will also be used as the area for repose of the Blessed Sacrament after Holy Thursday’s Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper.
The Easter Triduum is of particular importance for the 40+ catechumens and candidates, people wishing to become catholic or to complete their full membership in the Catholic Church through the sacraments of initiation: Baptism, Confirmation, Communion. Catechumens and candidates formally began their process during Advent (or earlier) and have spent a more intense period of study and preparation during Lent. They have appeared at various Spanish and English masses, especially during the third through fifth Sundays of Lent to celebrate the Scrutinies which are penitential and preparatory rites for purifying and strengthening those preparing to celebrate Easter sacraments.
During the Easter Triduum, the catechumens and candidates will be seated prominently in the first few center rows along with their godparents and sponsors. These latter will assist in the liturgies by participating in the Washing of Feet on Holy Thursday, the Offertory on Holy Thursday and Holy Saturday, and in their particular roles during the celebration of Baptism and Confirmation. The Holy Thursday and Holy Saturday celebrations are bilingual and bring the parish together in one powerful and unique celebration. The only other time a bilingual event like this happens is when the Bishop comes to celebrate Confirmation in the Fall.
There are still a few days before the Easter Triduum. English and Spanish choirs are rehearsing together. The last Wednesday evening mass in the Guadalupe Chapel and opportunity to celebrate the sacrament of Reconciliation is this Wednesday, April 23. A full listing of the Holy Week schedule is available here.
Come join Christ the Redeemer for these most holy events and come witness the Risen Lord’s promise poured out, embraced, and nourished by the sacraments of initiation. The Good News remains that He Lives! and continues to welcome us into everlasting life.