The Easter Triduum (Part 2)

Some pictures from the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Maundy Thursday at St Benedict’s

The Holy Oils, blessed by the Archbishop at the Chrism Mass, are carried forward by two children who are preparing for First Communion


Just as at Passover, a child asks:  “Why does this night differ from all other nights?”


The Washing of the Feet


Procession to the Altar of Repose


At the Altar of Repose – watching with Jesus while he prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane



Many thanks to Kevin Holt for the photographs

The Easter Triduum

Some pictures from this year’s Good Friday Celebration at St Oswald’s

The Gospel of the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ is proclaimed


Young people carry the large wooden Cross into church


Adoration of the Cross


People come forward to venerate the Cross



Silence at the end of the service


Many thanks to Tim Wright for the photographs



Easter Sunday


Christ is risen!  He is risen, indeed!

Christus resurrexit! Resurrexit vere!

Chrystus zmartwychwstał! Prawdziwie zmartwychwstał!

Khristos voskrese! Voistinu voskrese!

Le Christ est ressuscité! En verité il est ressuscité!

Tá Críost éirithe! Go deimhin, tá sé éirithe!

Atgyfododd Crist! Yn wir atgyfododd!


Scripture Reading

After the sabbath, and towards dawn on the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala and the other Mary went to visit the sepulchre. And all at once there was a violent earthquake, for the angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled away the stone and sat on it. His face was like lightning, his robe white as snow. The guards were so shaken, so frightened of him, that they were like dead men. But the angel spoke; and he said to the women, ‘There is no need for you to be afraid. I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said he would. Come and see the place where he lay, then go quickly and tell his disciples, “He has risen from the dead and now he is going before you to Galilee; it is there you will see him.” Now I have told you.’ Filled with awe and great joy the women came quickly away from the tomb and ran to tell the disciples.

And there, coming to meet them, was Jesus. ‘Greetings’ he said. And the women came up to him and, falling down before him, clasped his feet. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers that they must leave for Galilee; they will see me there.’

(Matthew 28: 1-10)



On this most holy day, Lord God,
through the triumph of your only-begotten Son
you have shattered the gates of death
and opened the way to everlasting life.
Grant, we beseech you,
that we who celebrate the festival of the Lord’s resurrection
may rise to a new and glorious life
through the quickening power of your Spirit.
Through Christ our Lord.Amen.

© 1997 International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc.



Holy Saturday


From an ancient homily for Holy Saturday


Something strange is happening – there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began. God has died in the flesh and hell trembles with fear.

He has gone to search for our first parent, as for a lost sheep. Greatly desiring to visit those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death, he has gone to free from sorrow the captives Adam and Eve, he who is both God and the son of Eve. The Lord approached them bearing the cross, the weapon that had won him the victory. At the sight of him Adam, the first man he had created, struck his breast in terror and cried out to everyone: “My Lord be with you all.” Christ answered him: “And with your spirit.” He took him by the hand and raised him up, saying: “Awake, O sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”

I am your God, who for your sake have become your son. Out of love for you and for your descendants I now by my own authority command all who are held in bondage to come forth, all who are in darkness to be enlightened, all who are sleeping to arise. I order you, O sleeper, to awake. I did not create you to be held a prisoner in hell. Rise from the dead, for I am the life of the dead. Rise up, work of my hands, you who were created in my image. Rise, let us leave this place, for you are in me and I am in you; together we form only one person and we cannot be separated. For your sake I, your God, became your son; I, the Lord, took the form of a slave; I, whose home is above the heavens, descended to the earth and beneath the earth. For your sake, for the sake of man, I became like a man without help, free among the dead. For the sake of you, who left a garden, I was betrayed to the Jews in a garden, and I was crucified in a garden.

See on my face the spittle I received in order to restore to you the life I once breathed into you. See there the marks of the blows I received in order to refashion your warped nature in my image. On my back see the marks of the scourging I endured to remove the burden of sin that weighs upon your back. See my hands, nailed firmly to a tree, for you who once wickedly stretched out your hand to a tree.

I slept on the cross and a sword pierced my side for you who slept in paradise and brought forth Eve from your side. My side has healed the pain in yours. My sleep will rouse you from your sleep in hell. The sword that pierced me has sheathed the sword that was turned against you.

Rise, let us leave this place. The enemy led you out of the earthly paradise. I will not restore you to that paradise, but I will enthrone you in heaven. I forbade you the tree that was only a symbol of life, but see, I who am life itself am now one with you. I appointed cherubim to guard you as slaves are guarded, but now I make them worship you as God. The throne formed by cherubim awaits you, its bearers swift and eager. The bridal chamber is adorned, the banquet is ready, the eternal dwelling places are prepared, the treasure houses of all good things lie open. The kingdom of heaven has been prepared for you from all eternity.

(From the Office of Readings for Holy Saturday)

Good Friday


See, my servant will prosper,
he shall be lifted up, exalted, rise to great heights.

As the crowds were appalled on seeing him
– so disfigured did he look
that he seemed no longer human –
so will the crowds be astonished at him,
and kings stand speechless before him;
for they shall see something never told
and witness something never heard before:
“Who could believe what we have heard,
and to whom has the power of the Lord been revealed?”

Like a sapling he grew up in front of us,
like a root in arid ground.
Without beauty, without majesty (we saw him),
no looks to attract our eyes;
a thing despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering,
a man to make people screen their faces;
he was despised and we took no account of him.

And yet ours were the sufferings he bore,
ours the sorrows he carried.
But we, we thought of him as someone punished,
struck by God, and brought low.
Yet he was pierced through for our faults,
crushed for our sins.
On him lies a punishment that brings us peace,
and through his wounds we are healed.

We had all gone astray like sheep,
each taking his own way,
and the Lord burdened him
with the sins of all of us.
Harshly dealt with, he bore it humbly,
he never opened his mouth,
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter-house,
like a sheep that is dumb before its shearers never opening his mouth.

By force and by law he was taken;
would anyone plead his cause?
Yes, he was torn away from the land of the living;
for our faults struck down in death.
They gave him a grave with the wicked,
a tomb with the rich,
though he had done no wrong
and there had been no perjury in his mouth.
The Lord has been pleased to crush him with suffering.
If he offers his life in atonement,
he shall see his heirs, he shall have a long life
and through him what the Lord wishes will be done.

His soul’s anguish over
he shall see the light and be content.
By his sufferings shall my servant justify many,
taking their faults on himself.

Hence I will grant whole hordes for his tribute,
he shall divide the spoil with the mighty,
for surrendering himself to death
and letting himself be taken for a sinner,
while he was bearing the faults of many
and praying all the time for sinners.

(Isaiah 52: 13 – 53: 12)

Maundy Thursday


It was before the festival of the Passover, and Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to pass from this world to the Father. He had always loved those who were his in the world, but now he showed how perfect his love was.

They were at supper, and the devil had already put it into the mind of Judas Iscariot son of Simon, to betray him. Jesus knew that the Father had put everything into his hands, and that he had come from God and was returning to God, and he got up from table, removed his outer garment and, taking a towel, wrapped it round his waist; he then poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel he was wearing.

He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus answered, “At the moment you do not know what I am doing, but later you will understand.” “Never!” said Peter “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus replied, “If I do not wash you, you can have nothing in common with me.” “Then, Lord,” said Simon Peter “not only my feet, but my hands and my head as well!” Jesus said, “No one who has taken a bath needs washing, he is clean all over. You too are clean, though not all of you are.” He knew who was going to betray him, that was why he said, “though not all of you are.”

When he had washed their feet and put on his clothes again he went back to the table. “Do you understand,” he said, “what I have done to you? You call me Master and Lord, and rightly; so I am. If I, then, the Lord and Master, have washed your feet, you should wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example so that you may copy what I have done to you.”

(John 13: 1-15)


With joy, O God,
we come to the supper hosted by your Son.
Stir our hearts by his example:
who welcomes even those who betray, deny and desert him,
the Lord who knew their weakness
yet bent down to wash their feet.
We ask this through Christ,
our Passover and our Peace,
God for ever and ever.

(Adapted from ‘Prayers for Sundays and Seasons’ by Peter J Scagnelli (c) 1998 Liturgy Training Publications)


Wednesday of Holy Week

As we reach the eve of the Easter Triduum – ‘The Three Days of Easter’ – a powerful thought…


We have to give ourselves permission
to be weak enough to enter into Holy Week.

Stop pretending that you can hold everything together.
No one is telling you that you have to be strong.

Instead, you need to be real.

You do not need to put on a special face to others 

to show you are a Christian. 

Stop perpetuating illusions 

about the way others tell you to be. 

This week is about your relationship with Jesus Christ 

and what he needs most is for you to be a real person 
– just as you are –
even if you are weak, vulnerable, filled with chaos, 

and bombarded by a variety of conflicting emotions. 

If this is who you are, 
then this is the ‘you’ Jesus wants to meet 
on this journey to the cross.” 

~ John Predmore, SJ

Tuesday of Holy Week



The Cross of Jesus stands at the centre of the Christian story as the sign of the lengths love will go to in its passion for others. Should we ever feel unloved, we have only to look at the figure on the Cross, and reflect on the fact that, in spite of our sins and failings, God loves us unconditionally, so much so that he willingly  endured and suffered torture and death, out of his love for each one of us.

Let us reflect on those who had some part in putting Christ to death, and instead of condemning them straight away, perhaps look deeper and see how we also  could be capable of some such evil, but for the grace of God.

The Pharisees were austere, religious men, who devoted all their energy to doing good and the study of God’s law, but they were absolutely convinced of their own rightness, and could be capable of the most appalling evil.

Caiphas who was perhaps thinking mainly of religious orthodoxy, and how easily people get led astray by false messiahs.  The Church saw heretics burn at the stake – believing it was doing service to the Gospel.

Pilate was probably thinking of his high office and the preservation of law and order at a time of great unrest.  He knew that Christ was innocent, but he feared that trouble would ensue if he did not give the religious leaders what they wanted.  He was also thinking about his own job.

Judas   most likely he was now a disappointed, disillusioned man.  But even this character, so maligned down the ages, came to recognise and condemn the evil he had done, and simply despaired.

Peter – here we have a man who is weak and cowardly, but afterwards repented and shed tears over his denials.

The soldiers  were simply carrying out orders…taking no responsibility for their actions.

The crowd  got really carried away, not knowing what exactly was happening, but joined in anyway.

Holy Week is not a week for throwing stones, but rather an opportunity to look at our own commitment to truth and justice, and our loyalty to Christ and his Gospel. Christ shows us that the only way to overcome evil is by good, just as the only way to overcome darkness is by light. Through his resurrection, Christ’s light shone even more brilliantly than before, and it can never be extinguished again.

grant that through the death and resurrection of your Son,
we may be able to die to our sins and rise to new life,
through the same Christ our Lord.

(From Sunday Reflection on the Liverpool Archdiocesan Website)

Monday of Holy Week


By Sister Theo Bowman (d 1990) from ‘Whispers in the Loggia’ by Rocco Palmo

Let us resolve to make this week holy by claiming Christ’s redemptive grace and by living holy lives. The Word became flesh and redeemed us by his holy life and holy death. This week especially, let us accept redemption by living grateful, faithful, prayerful, generous, just and holy lives.

Let us resolve to make this week holy by reading and meditating Holy Scripture.

So often, we get caught up in the hurry of daily living. As individuals and as families, reserve prime time to be with Jesus, to hear the cries of the children waving palm branches, to see the Son of Man riding on an ass’ colt, to feel the press of the crowd, to be caught up in the “Hosannas” and to realize how the cries of acclamation will yield to the garden of suffering, to be there and watch as Jesus is sentenced by Pilate to Calvary, to see him rejected, mocked, spat upon, beaten and forced to carry a heavy cross, to hear the echo of the hammer, to feel the agony of the torn flesh and strained muscles, to know Mary’s anguish as he hung three hours before he died.


We recoil before the atrocities of war, gang crime, domestic violence and catastrophic illness. Unless we personally and immediately are touched by suffering, it is easy to read Scripture and to walk away without contacting the redemptive suffering that makes us holy. The reality of the Word falls on deaf ears.

Let us take time this week to be present to someone who suffers. Sharing the pain of a fellow human will enliven Scripture and help us enter into the holy mystery of the redemptive suffering of Christ. Let us resolve to make this week holy by participating in the Holy Week services of the church, not just by attending, but also by preparing, by studying the readings, entering into the spirit, offering our services as ministers of the Word or Eucharist, decorating the church or preparing the environment for worship.

Let us sing, “Lord, have mercy,” and “Hosanna.” Let us praise the Lord with our whole heart and soul and mind and strength, uniting with the suffering church throughout the world — in Rome and Northern Ireland, in Syria and Lebanon, in South Africa and Angola, India and China, Nicaragua and El Salvador, in Washington, D.C., and Jackson, Mississippi.


Let us break bread together; let us relive the holy and redemptive mystery. Let us do it in memory of him, acknowledging in faith his real presence upon our altars.

Let us resolve to make this week holy by sharing holy peace and joy within our families, sharing family prayer on a regular basis, making every meal a holy meal where loving conversations bond family members in unity, sharing family work without grumbling, making love not war, asking forgiveness for past hurts and forgiving one another from the heart, seeking to go all the way for love as Jesus went all the way for love.

Let us resolve to make this week holy by sharing holy peace and joy with the needy, the alienated, the lonely, the sick and afflicted, the untouchable.

Let us unite our sufferings, inconveniences and annoyances with the suffering of Jesus. Let us stretch ourselves, going beyond our comfort zones to unite ourselves with Christ’s redemptive work.

We unite ourselves with Christ’s redemptive work when we reconcile, when we make peace, when we share the good news that God is in our lives, when we reflect to our brothers and sisters God’s healing, God’s forgiveness, God’s unconditional love.


Let us be practical, reaching out across the boundaries of race and class and status to help somebody, to encourage and affirm somebody, offering to the young an incentive to learn and grow, offering to the downtrodden resources to help themselves.

May our fasting be the kind that saves and shares with the poor, that actually contacts the needy, that gives heart to heart, that touches and nourishes and heals.

During this Holy Week when Jesus gave his life for love, let us truly love one another.

Palm Sunday


Scripture Reading  (Matthew 21: 1-11)

When they were near Jerusalem and had come in sight of Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, ‘Go to the village facing you, and you will immediately find a tethered donkey and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, you are to say, “The Master needs them and will send them back directly”.’ This took place to fulfil the prophecy:

Say to the daughter of Zion:
Look, your king comes to you;
he is humble, he rides on a donkey
and on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.

So the disciples went out and did as Jesus had told them. They brought the donkey and the colt, then they laid their cloaks on their backs and he sat on them. Great crowds of people spread their cloaks on the road, while others were cutting branches from the trees and spreading them in his path. The crowds who went in front of him and those who followed were all shouting:

‘Hosanna to the Son of David!
Blessings on him who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest heavens!’

And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil. ‘Who is this?’ people asked, and the crowds answered, ‘This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.’

Terror Attack on Egyptian Christians

Pope Francis condemned the terror attack on a Coptic church dedicated to St George in the city of Tanta, north of Cairo, which killed upward of two dozen people and injured nearly 60 others. “We pray for the victims claimed this morning”, Pope Francis said in remarks to the faithful gathered in St Peter’s Square to pray the Angelus with him following Palm Sunday Mass. “To my dear brother, His Holiness Pope Tawadros II”, Pope Francis continued, “to the Coptic Church and to all the dear Egyptian nation I express my deep condolences. I pray for the dead and the injured, and I am close in spirit to the family members [of the deceased and injured] and to the entire community.”

Pope Francis went on to pray, “May the Lord convert the hearts of the people who are sowing terror, violence and death, and also the hearts of those who make and traffic weapons.”