The Church intends to renew, in a most solemn manner, the anniversary of the instituion of the Holy Eucharist and the Catholic priesthood. The priest intones the angelic hymn, "Gloria in excelsis Deo," and the bells ring forth a joyous peal during the whole of the heavenly canticle, but from that moment on they remain silent. The Church deprives us of these sweet bells to show us that this world lost all its melody and joy when its Savior suffered and was crucified.

Another rite unique to today is the consecration of two Hosts during the Mass. One of these the priests receives in Communion; the other he reserves and reverently places in a chalice, which he covers with a silk veil. The reason for this is that tomorrow, Good Friday, the Church suspends the daily Sacrifice. Although the Sacrifice is suspended, the Church would not that her Divine Spouse lose the homage that is due to Him in the Holy Eucharist. Therefore, in a richly ornamented side altar, the Church places the Body of the Divine Lord. Though the Divine Lord is veiled from their view, the faithful will visit Him in this His holy resting place, pay Him their most humble adorations, and present Him their most fervent supplications.

After Mass, the altar is stripped. The altar will remain in this denuded state until the daily offering can again be presented to the Divine Majesty; that is, when the Spouse of the Holy Church shall arise from the grave. Christ is now in the hands of His enemies, the Jews, who are about to strip Him of His garments, just as we strip the altar.


Mass 9:00 a.m. & Tre Ore 12 -3 p.m.

The solemn rites of this morning announce to the faithful the sacredness of this day and the suspension of the Holy Sacrifice. Everything in the sanctuary bespeaks mournfulness. The Church now instructs us of the Passion and Death of Her Divine Spouse according to Saint John. After the Passion, the Church follows the example set by the Mediator of the world by offering prayers and supplications. All men, even the Jews, are included in her intercession which she makes, under the shadow of the cross, to the Father of all ages. Each of these prayers is prefaced by a genuflection with the exception of the one for the Jews. The Church has no hesitation in offering up a prayer for the descendants of Jesus' executioners; but in doing so, she refrains from genuflecting because this mark of adoration was turned by the Jews into an insult against our Lord.

The Church next invites her faithful children to a solemn act of reparation which consists in venerating that cross which our Divine Lord has consecrated by His own Blood and by Its means has worked our salvation. The holy cross, veiled in violet, is exposed in three separate elevations. The first represents the first preaching of the cross which the apostles made to the few faithful disciples of Jesus. The second signifies the apostles' extending their preaching of the mystery of our redemption to the Jews after the descent of the Holy Ghost. The third and unreserved manifestation represents the mystery of the cross being preached to the whole world after the apostles had been rejected by the majority of the Jews. Holy Church expresses to us the contrast of the Jewish and Catholic view. The one finds nothing in Christ crucified but shame and ignominy; the other discovers in Him the power and the wisdom of God. Thus, the veil of the mystery of the cross is removed by faith.

So vividly is the Church impressed with the remembrance of the great Sacrifice of Calvary that she refrains from renewing the immolation of the Divine Victim. The Victim reserved in the altar of repose is brought to the main altar in a solemn procession. Before receiving the Sacred Host in Holy Communion, the priest, taking the adorable Body of Our Redeemer, raises it on high, as Jesus was raised on the cross. The faithful bow down in profound adoration before their crucified Lord.


The first ceremony consists in the blessing of the new fire. Light is an image of the Son of God. The spark, which is struck from the flint to light the new fire,represents our Lord rising from His rock-hewn sepulchre. All the lamps in the church are extinquished, symbolizing the abrogation of the Old Law. The Church also blesses five grains of incense which represent the perfumes prepared by Magdalene and her holy companions for embalming the Body of Jesus.

The first branch of a three branched candle (trident),representing the Blessed Trinity, is lit from the new fire. The candle is brought into the church and elevated three times. The first elevation expresses the revelation made to us by Jesus of the Divinity of the Father. The second signifies the world's receiving the knowledge of the Divinity of the Son. The third elevation signifies the revelation of the Divinity of the Holy Ghost. This then, the proclamation of the Holy Trinity, is the first use of the new fire.

The second use of the new fire is for lighting the Paschal candle. Before being lit, the candle is a figure of Our Lord lying lifeless in the tomb. The blessed grains of incense are fixed into the candle, representing the five wounds received by Our Lord. The Paschal candle is now lit with one of the branches of the trident. This signifies the moment of Our Lord's Resurrection. The glorious symbol of Christ is now perfect.

The Baptismal water is blessed today. The priest makes the sign of the cross in the water to signify that it is by the cross that this element receives the power of regenerating the souls of men. The priest sprinkles water towards the four parts of the world which received the preaching of Baptism. The priest then expresses the character of the Holy Ghost by breathing three times in the form of a cross over the water. Taking the Paschal candle, the priest dips it into the water, signifying the mystery of Christ's baptism in the Jordan. Before taking the candle out, the priest again breathes upon the water to signify the union of the power of the Holy Ghost with that of Christ.

The Mass is begun. The "Gloria in Excelsis Deo" is joyously sung. The hitherto silent bells peal to the angelic hymn. The Gospel is sung; however, only the thurifer accompanies the procession. The acolytes and candles are not present. This signifies the women who went to the sepulchre carrying sweet spices but the light of faith in the Resurrection was not yet in their hearts. The Credo is omitted, reminding us of the hours which elapsed before the apostles themselves had honoured it by their faith.

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