Catholics around the world celebrated Holy Week from March 25 to April 1, from Palm Sunday to Easter. Father Thomas McNamara celebrated liturgies at the Cathedral of Mary of the Assumption in Saginaw, and Bishop Joseph Cistone celebrated the annual Chrism Mass on March 27.
Holy Week began with Palm Sunday, including a procession holding palm branches to mark Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem before His Passion, when the Jews welcomed Him by placing palm branches along His path and singing "Hosanna!"
At Tuesday's Chrism Mass, Bishop Cistone blessed the holy oils, which will be used for the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Orders and Anointing of the Sick, as well as the dedication of churches and consecration of altars. They were then distributed to representatives of the parish communities within the Diocese of Saginaw. The priests of the diocese concelebrated the Mass with Bishop Cistone and renewed their priestly vows.
Holy Thursday commemorates the institution of the Eucharist by Jesus Christ at the Last Supper, the First Mass in the Catholic tradition. During the Mass, Father Thomas washed parishioners' feet, recalling the way Jesus washed the feet of the 12 disciples at that meal. At the conclusion of Mass, the consecrated Hosts to be used at the Good Friday Service were taken to an Altar of Repose at the St. Dominic Chapel, recalling Jesus' Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane following the Last Supper.
Good Friday marks the crucifixion and death of Jesus. During the liturgy, the faithful gather to venerate the cross and hear the Gospel account of Christ’s Passion. Mass is not celebrated during the somber liturgy; Hosts consecrated during the Holy Thursday Mass were distributed during Communion.
The Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday is a joyful night-watch by Christians who have gathered to celebrate the most important feast in the life of the Church – the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Father Thomas began by blessing the Easter fire, and the faithful renew their baptismal promises. It is during the Vigil Masses celebrated across the diocese and around the world that thousands join the Catholic Church as they receive the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist.
Holy Week culminated with the Easter morning celebration of Christ's Resurrection. The Gospel account of the encounter of the first Christians with Our Risen Lord and his empty tomb is read during Mass.