Sunday, March 28, 2010

Palm Sunday Begins Holy Week

Today is Palm Sunday which begins Holy Week (All links are to the Catholic Encyclopedia).  One week from today is Easter.  It is the pinnacle of the Christian Liturgical Year.  Let's take a quick look at what comprises Holy Week:

Palm Sunday - This day celebrates the Lord's Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem.  Those who greeted him laid palm branches down as he rode in on a donkey. 

Maundy Thursday - This day was always hard for me to remember.  Maundy comes from the Latin mandatum which means commandment.  This is the day Jesus gave a new commandment to his disciples that they should love one another and the day he washed their feet.  Holy Thursday also begins the time period known as the Triduum.  It ends on the evening of Easter Sunday. 

Good Friday - This is the day our Lord was betrayed, crucified and buried.  Catholics will observe the Stations of the Cross often during this time though it can be observed throughout the year. 

Holy Saturday - The day before Easter and the day our Lord rested in the tomb.

Easter - The day our Lord rose from the dead!

For an Orthodox view of Holy Week see The Historical Development of Holy Week Services in the Orthodox/Byzantine Rite

Whatever your tradition I hope you maximize the significance of this week. 

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