Holy Week with the Benedictine Sisters

The Benedictine monastic community walks with Jesus throughout Holy Week. Beginning with the festive Palm Sunday, we celebrate with Jesus as he rides into Jerusalem. Tonight, Holy Thursday, we will join together – as Jesus and the apostles – in our own Seder meal, with bread, wine and bitter herbs as we remember the Hebrew Passover from slavery.

After dinner, we will go to chapel for the Last Supper Eucharist which includes the ritual washing of the feet (performed by Sr. Phyllis and Msgr. Henrickson). This beautiful ritual recalls Jesus’ own washing of the apostles’ feet. We recall his teaching that we are to love and serve one another with the same care and tenderness.

After Communion, the Blessed Sacrament is taken in solemn procession to the Eucharistic Chapel, where the Sisters are invited to pray in adoration as the apostles were asked to pray with Jesus at Gethsemane. The chapel is stripped of all flowers and decorations. At 11 p.m., the Blessed Sacrament is removed from the Chapel, recalling Jesus’ arrest and final suffering. We will maintain silence until the Easter vigil.

Good Friday is a silent day, although we will spend a lot of time in the chapel. At 3 p.m., we commemorate Jesus’ crucifixion with the reading of the Passion and the Veneration of the Cross. We are – as the apostles – lost.

Holy Saturday begins the same way, with many prayers, no conversation, nothing festive. Then, at 8 p.m. we begin our Easter Vigil, with the lighting of the new fire outdoors. We enter the chapel with the lighted Paschal Candle singing Christ our Light. We rejoice in the resurrection of Jesus. After 40 days, we once again proclaim Alleluia! We sing, we smile, the bells ring and ring! Our Lord is risen!

Blessings on your journey this week and throughout the Easter season!

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