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Holy Saturday

Holy Saturday (in Latin, Sabbatum Sanctum), the ‘day of the entombed Christ’, is the Lord’s day of rest, for on that day Christ’s body lay in His tomb. We recall the Apostle’s Creed, which says “He descended unto the dead.” It is a day of suspense between two worlds, that of darkness, sin and death, and that of the Resurrection and the restoration of the Light of the World. For this reason no divine services are held until the Easter Vigil begins that night. This day between Good Friday and Easter Day makes present to us the end of one world and the complete newness of the era of salvation inaugurated by the Resurrection of Christ.

Nightfall on Holy Saturday is time for joy and greatest expectation because of the beautiful liturgy of the Easter Vigil, often referred to as the Mother of all Holy Vigils, or the Great Service of Light. The Easter Vigil was restored to the liturgy in 1955, during the liturgical reform that preceded the Second Vatican Council.(Women for Faith and Family website)

Holy Saturday Stillness

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Morning Prayer

In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ I will begin this day.

I thank you, Lord, for having preserved me during the night. I will do my best to make all I do today pleasing to You and in accordance with Your will. My dear mother Mary, watch over me this day. My Guardian Angel, take care of me. St. Joseph and all you saints of God, pray for me.

O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer You my prayers, works, joys and sufferings of this day for all the intentions of Your Sacred Heart, in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world, in reparation for my sins, for the intentions of all my relatives and friends, and in particular for the intentions of the Holy Father.

I wish to gain all the indulgences attached to the prayers I shall say and the good works I shall perform this day. Amen.

Holy Saturday

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Prayer before a Crucifix

Boy at the cross

Look down upon me good and gentle Jesus as before Thy sacred Cross I humbly kneel, and with burning soul pray and beseech Thee to fix deep in my heart lively sentiments of Faith, Hope, and Charity, true contrition for my sins, and a firm purpose of amendment; whilst I contemplate, with great love and tender pity, Thy five sacred wounds, and as I meditate upon them, I call to mind the words which David, Thy prophet, spoke concerning Thee: “They pierced My hands and My feet, they numbered all My bones.”

Plenary indulgence is granted on each Friday of Lent and Passiontide to the faithful who, after Communion, piously recite the above prayer before an image of Jesus crucified. On other days of the year, the indulgence is partial.

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Good Friday is a day of Fasting and Abstinence

No Meat

Remember, it’s Good Friday – just like Ash Wednesday, Good Friday is a day of penance observed by BOTH fasting (only one full meal during the day) and abstinence from meat. All other Fridays during Lent are days of abstinence; we forego the eating of meat to make ourselves conscious of our Lord’s sacrifice of Himself for our sins. The law of fasting is binding for those who are 18 years old but not yet 60; the law of abstinence is binding for those 14 years of age and older.

Fridays during Lent are obligatory days of abstinence. Abstinence refers to the avoidance of certain foods. The most common form of abstinence is the avoidance of meat, a spiritual practice that goes back to the earliest days of the Church.

Catholics over the age of 14 are required to abstain from meat and from foods made with meat in honor of the Passion of Jesus on Good Friday.

According to the USCCB, “abstinence laws consider that meat comes only from animals such as chicken, cows, sheep or pigs – all of which live on land. Birds are also considered meat. Abstinence does not include meat juices and liquid foods made from meat. Thus, such foods as chicken broth, consomme, soups cooked or flavored with meat, meat gravies or sauces, as well as seasonings or condiments made from animal fat are technically not forbidden. However, moral theologians have traditionally taught that we should abstain from all animal-derived products (except foods such as gelatin, butter, cheese and eggs, which do not have any meat taste). Fish are a different category of animal. Salt and freshwater specaes of fish, amphibians, reptiles (cold-blooded animals) and shellfish are permitted.”

Many Catholics do not realize that the Church still recommends abstinence on all Fridays of the year, not just during Lent. In fact, if we don’t abstain from meat on non-Lenten Fridays, we’re required to substitute some other form of penance.

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Morning Prayer

In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ I will begin this day.

I thank you, Lord, for having preserved me during the night. I will do my best to make all I do today pleasing to You and in accordance with Your will. My dear mother Mary, watch over me this day. My Guardian Angel, take care of me. St. Joseph and all you saints of God, pray for me.

O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer You my prayers, works, joys and sufferings of this day for all the intentions of Your Sacred Heart, in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world, in reparation for my sins, for the intentions of all my relatives and friends, and in particular for the intentions of the Holy Father.

I wish to gain all the indulgences attached to the prayers I shall say and the good works I shall perform this day. Amen.
Christ on the cross

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Holy Thursday

Champaigne,Philippe de (1602-1674)

The Easter Triduum (sometimes called the Paschal Triduum) begins on Holy Thursday with the evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper, is continued through Good Friday with the celebration of the Passion of the Lord and Holy Saturday, reaches its summit in the Easter Vigil, and concludes with Vespers (evening prayer) of Easter Sunday.

Holy Thursday is the day on which Christ celebrated the Last Supper with His disciples. This is the day we celebrate the institution of the Eucharist as the true body and blood of Jesus Christ and the institution of the sacrament of the priesthood.

During the Last Supper, Christ blessed the bread and wine with the same words that Catholic and Orthodox priests use today to consecrate the Body and Blood of Christ during the Mass. In telling His disciples to “Do this in remembrance of Me,” He instituted the Mass and made them the first priests. During the Last Supper, Jesus offers himself as the Passover sacrifice, the sacrificial lamb, and teaches that every ordained priest is to follow the same sacrifice in the exact same way.

The washing of the feet represents the service and charity of Christ, who came “not to be served, but to serve.”

It was only a few hours after the Last Supper that Judas would betray Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane, setting the stage for Christ’s Crucifixion on Good Friday.

Near the end of the Last Supper, after Judas had departed, Christ said to His disciples, “A new commandment I give unto you: That you love one another, as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” The Latin word for “commandment,” mandatum became the source for another name for Holy Thursday: Maundy Thursday.

At the conclusion of the Mass, the faithful are invited to continue Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament throughout the night, just as the disciples were invited to stay up with the Lord during His agony in the garden before His betrayal by Judas.

After Holy Thursday, no Mass will be celebrated again in the Church until the Easter Vigil celebrates and proclaims the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.