Finding Meaning in the Liturgies of Holy Week
by Sr. Barbara Rund, OP

Holy Thursday
The Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday begins the Triduum (three-day festival). The three days (Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday/Easter Vigil, and Sunday) are one big celebration, each flowing into the other, proclaiming Jesus’ triumph over death. The Gloria is sung with the ringing of bells to signal the end of Lent. On Holy Thursday, feet are washed to recall Jesus washing his disciples’ feet and to remind all that we are called to serve others as Jesus did. 

At the livestream Mass, the washing of feet will be omitted, as well as the transfer of the Eucharist to the chapel, because there will be no congregation present in the Church. This Holy Thursday, God is asking us to wash our hands frequently to protect ourselves and each other from the COVID-19 coronavirus. Let us remember that, as we wash our hands, we are serving others as Jesus did at the Lord’s Supper.

Holy Thursday Mass has no dismissal or blessing; instead, we take the opportunity to reflect on our hunger to receive the Eucharist and to participate in evening adoration. The Holy Thursday Mass does not end; rather, it abruptly stops and will flow into the Good Friday service.


Good Friday
The Good Friday liturgy is named “Friday of the Passion of the Lord,” which consists of three parts: The Celebration of the Passion of the Lord; The Adoration of the Holy Cross; and Holy Communion. The liturgical ministers process in silence into the bare church, and the Passion Story is proclaimed from John’s Gospel. The last three chapters in each of the four Gospels were written first and are the most ancient record of Jesus’ passion, death, and resurrection.

After the Passion of John, the ten Solemn Intercessions take place and this year, the Church has prepared an eleventh intercession for the global pandemic. Many people are experiencing the cross as the pandemic spreads; the death of loved ones is a real experience for us. We pray: “Let us pray, dearly beloved, for a swift end to the coronavirus pandemic that afflicts our world, that our God and Father will heal the sick, strengthen those who care for them, and help us all to persevere in faith.”

After hearing the story of the crucifixion and praying for the needs of the world, we focus on the sign of the cross, the sign of God’s love, the sign of our salvation. The liturgy concludes abruptly with Holy Communion, without a dismissal or blessing, and the ministers leave the church in silence. 

Holy Saturday/Easter Vigil and Sunday
The Pascal Fast begins with Good Friday and lasts until Holy Saturday evening. It is a time of prayer, fasting, and reflection on Jesus’ suffering and death. 

At sunset on Holy Saturday, the Church explodes with the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection which is called the Easter Vigil, consisting of kindling the new fire, the Liturgy of the Word, the Baptismal Liturgy, and the Liturgy of the Eucharist.

Easter morning flows with life, hope, and joy in the risen Christ. The liturgy ends with the dismissal, blessing, and the triple Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, proclaiming the beginning of the Easter Season: 50 days of celebration until Pentecost.

Questions for Reflection during Holy Week 

A few questions to reflect upon this week taken from Sunday by Sunday, Vol. 29, No. 28 by Joan Mitchell, CSJ, and Liguori, Journey of Faith, E7:

  • Who sees Jesus risen?
  • Who believes Jesus is with us?
  • With which disciple who goes to the empty tomb do you most identify? Who responds the way you would – Mary Magdalene, Peter, or the beloved disciple?
  • What have you learned from staying with grief?
  • What turnings have you experienced in your faith path?
  • When has Jesus called you by name?
  • Where have you recognized Jesus risen and present?
  • What have you seen in your life that leads you to believe in God’s power to raise the dead?
  • What do Jesus words, “I go to my Father and your Father, my God and your God,” mean to you?
  • What would you say about Jesus to a person who has never heard of him?
  • How is God asking you to “wash feet” in your life?
  • Who do you still need to forgive?  Picture yourself laying the burden of your anger and hurt at the foot of the cross.
  • What good news can I share with others about this life of grace and mercy in following the Lord?
  • How will I deliver the message in words, in actions, in prayer?

Messages of Hope
from St. Hugo of the Hills

Musical Meditations

How Can I Keep From Singing

Ave Maria

Panis Angelicus


From the St. Hugo Family
Fr. Mark Wendling
Fr. George Hazler

All Holy Week Masses at St. Hugo of the Hills will be viewable only by Livestream at 

Holy Thursday - 7:00 p.m. 
Livestream Only

Good Friday - 1:00 p.m. 
Livestream Only

Easter Vigil - 9:00 p.m.
with the Archdiocese of Detroit 

Easter Sunday - 10:00 a.m. Livestream Only