The Holy Season of Easter

On Palm Sunday in Catholic Churches throughout the diocese palms are blessed and distributed to commemorate the original 'Palm Sunday' - the day when Jesus entered Jerusalem a few days before his execution.
The Gospels tell us on this day Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey amid rejoicing and the crowds acclaiming him King; we celebrate this on Palm Sunday with a procession carrying palms.
It is officially called Passion Sunday in the Church but it is popularly known as Palm Sunday as palms are blessed and distributed at Mass, reminding us of the waving of palm branches by the crowds in Jerusalem as Jesus passed by.
The joyfulness of the Procession gives way to the solemn events of Holy Week and the execution of Jesus, and so on this Sunday the story from Scripture of Jesus' suffering and death (the Passion) is read aloud during Mass.
Palm Sunday starts Holy Week - the most solemn week in the church's year.

 

Holy Week and the Triduum
The Triduum is the name given to the three key days at the end of Holy Week - starting with the Evening Mass of the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday and continuing through Good Friday and Holy Saturday leading up to the celebration of the season of Easter with the Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday.
There is no concluding rite at the close of the first two services of the Triduum - emphasising the continuity of the three days.

 

Holy Thursday 2011
Holy Thursday, or Maundy Thursday, is the Thursday before Easter
On Holy Thursday evening we celebrate the Evening Mass of the Lord's Supper.
During the Evening Mass of the Lord's Supper we remember in a special way the Last Supper of Christ, when he instituted the Eucharist.
At the Last Supper Jesus washed the feet of his disciples; and at this Mass the Celebrant washes the feet of twelve people in the congregation in memory of this, and to remind us of our call to serve.
At the end of this Mass the blessed sacrament is taken to the "Altar of Repose" - a special place where the eucharist is kept until the distribution of communion on the next day, Good Friday.
There is no blessing or formal end to this service as the three days of the Triduum, that is, the Mass of the Lord's Supper, Good Friday and the Easter Vigil all form one service.
Traditionally, Catholics stay till late that evening in the church keeping watch and praying, remembering Jesus' agony in the Garden of Gethsemene.

Good Friday
GOOD FRIDAY is the Friday before Easter, and is the day when Christians commemorate the suffering and death of Jesus.

Catholics believe that Jesus died on the Cross on Good Friday to set the world free from evil, sin and death.

Most Catholic churches will have two services on Good Friday:

Reading from the scriptures
General Intercessions-Ancient prayers which have been used on this day since the third century
Procession of the Cross -The cross is carried in procession in three stages(as the Pascal Candle will be raised in three stages at the Easter Vigil)
Veneration of the Cross-Each person present comes forward to individually venerate the cross, a symbolic gesture celebrating our salvation through Christ's dying on a wooden cross.
Distribution of communion consecrated the previous evening

 

Easter Vigil
The Easter Vigil is the major celebration in the Church's year. It takes place on the evening of Holy Saturday (called the Vigil of Easter Sunday).
The Easter Vigil service celebrates the resurrection - the triumph of Jesus over death as he rises from the grave. Light has overcome darkness and new life bursts through. New members of the Church are initiated and the waters of Baptism poured out.
The church, which during Lent has been decorated sparingly and sombrely, now celebrates the resurrection and is vibrant with beautiful flowers. Music, in all its forms, is used to praise God, in joyful celebration.
The Vigil Service:

 

Easter Sunday
On Easter Sunday we celebrate the Resurrection; the triumph of Jesus over death as he rises from the grave.
On Good Friday Jesus has died; three days later, at Easter, he rises again in glorious triumph, and makes it possible for us to have a new life where we are liberated from evil, sin and death.
Christians everywhere celebrate Easter in joyful church services and by symbols and traditions and customs which reflect the new life, joy and hope of Easter.