What is Holy Week?
WHAT IS HOLY WEEK?
Holy Week is the last seven days of Lent. It begins with Palm Sunday and ends with Easter Sunday.
WHY IS IT AN IMPORTANT WEEK?
For the Catholic Church, it is a key week since it commemorates the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Christ.
WHAT IS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF EACH DAY?
On Palm Sunday, Jesus' arrival to Jerusalem is remembered. Catholics can participate in processions with blessed olive branches or palms.
Some of those carried by Pope Francis at the Vatican come from Elche, a city in southern Spain.
From Holy Monday to Wednesday there are no special events.
Holy Thursday commemorates Jesus' Last Supper, in which He instituted the sacraments of the Eucharist and holy orders. During the Mass celebrated on this day, the priest practices the rite of foot washing.
Mass cannot be celebrated on Good Friday nor Holy Saturday, since these are days of mourning the death of Christ.
On Holy Saturday the church is actually closed, until later that night, when the Easter Vigil is celebrated. It is common that new persons are baptized into the Catholic faith on this night.
Finally, the Resurrection of Christ is remembered on Easter Sunday and is celebrated at Mass that morning.
WHEN DID CATHOLICS BEGIN CELEBRATING HOLY WEEK?
Holy Week has been celebrated since the beginning of Christianity. According to some documents dating back to the fourth century, the Passion of Christ was commemorated in Egypt, Palestine, and the current Turkey and Armenia. It is likely that these celebrations were already held some years before. This custom came to Europe in the fifth century.