HOLY WEEK OBSERVANCE
As we approach towards the end of lent, the Church presents to us the great week called Holy Week.
Traditionally, the Holy week comes in the sixth week of lent.
During this period, the church encourages the faithful to intensify their Lenten observances i.e our bodily fasting, works of Charity and our call to pray.
Many Catholics have witnessed many Easters and will still witness more but one thing is different. The way we present ourselves before the Lord during this period speaks more volume of the season.
In today’s edition of our popular Catholic Catechism (Sunday Rice and stew), we shall look at some of the Holy week Observance which will help us to present ourselves well before God in this Holy and also receive the graces that is attached to it.
The holy week in the Church is one that runs through the seven days of the week. The holy week marks the Peak of Lent and the height of our Christian faith.
All the days of the Holy week are important and non is greater than the other. But some carries more rituals and activity than the other.
OBSERVANCES IN THE HOLY WEEK
The holy week begins with the celebration of Palm Sunday on the sixth Sunday of Lent. On this day, Catholics are expected to be in the Church early to bless their palms and join in the procession which signifies the Triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem.
On this day, the faithful return to their houses with the blessed palm and preserve it in a safe place till the start of another Lenten journey on Ash Wednesday when the already dried Palm will be blessed and put on our foreheads to signify our repentance.
On this day the church also encourages and allows the use of musical instrument as a way of making Christ a King again.
The holy week indeed is full of rituals. On Holy Thursday, traditionally, the church celebrates Chrism mass but for Pastoral reasons, this celebration may be shifted to a day before it but not after it except on extreme cases.
The celebration of the chrism mass if done on Holy Thursday or another day, is usually presided by the bishop.
It is important to note that during this Mass, three set of Oil are blessed with the faithful as witness.
This oil includes the oil of Catechumens, the oil for Anointing of the Sick and Oil Chrism oil
In the Evening of the Holy Thursday, the faithful are required to attend mass in their own Parish and follow the evening Rituals. These rituals are very special and they enrich the soul of the faithful.
The Rituals for the holy Thursday evening include
1. The Mass of the Last supper
2. The washing of the Feet of twelve Church members
3. The adoration of the Blessed Sacrament at the Altar of repose
The Holy Week also presents to us the death of Christ again. On Good Friday, Christ died for us and the Church always wants us to follow these rituals.
The Holy week also give us a day in the year where the Holy Mass is nit Celebrated. On Good Friday, the church does not celebrate the Holy Mass but carries out SERVICES which is celebrated by the Priest in all parishes.
On Good Friday, the Church also prays for the intentions of Christ and the Church.
We are encouraged to pray during these sacred rituals with the church for the various intention raised by the Church.
On this day, Catholics are expected to FAST and ABSTAIN from meat too.
The Holy week also present to us Night of Nights also called Holy Saturday. On this night, Christ triumph over death and gave us our Victory.
On this night, the Holy week ritual too is at Its Peak. The observances on this night includes
1. Avail yourself at the mass at night
2. Pay attention to the readings which gives us a history of our beginning, captivity, redemption also.
3. The Alleluia resumes after forty days stop.
4. The Baptism of adults is done and is a great ritual also.
The Holy week is a lovely week for us Catholics. Make good use of this period and make amend with Christ.
Happy Palm Sunday.
May God help us to celebrate the Holy week with him by our side. Amen