Holy Week

Holy Week of course starts with Palm Sunday, when we process into the chapel singing and carrying palm branches, and follow Jesus liturgically from this triumph through to his Passion and death.

Palm Sunday Celebration
Palm Sunday: Fr. Christof Wolf and Fr. Andreas Gösele (from left)

On Thursday evening we celebrate a Jewish Seder meal, according to an approved format. The first Mass of all (the Last Supper) was a Seder meal into which Our Lord introduced the astounding new element of Himself being the Perfect Sacrifice. The parallels between the Jewish Passover celebration and our Liturgy of the Eucharist are at once fascinating and awe-inspiring.

On Good Friday and Easter Saturday (daytime), following an ancient tradition, there are no Masses anywhere in the world, so at 3pm on Good Friday we meet in the Chapel to retell the Passion of Our Lord and venerate His cross.

Also highly recommended for us foreign-language Catholics in Munich are the international Stations of the Cross on Good Friday, through the city centre pedestrian zone. These start at 10am in St. Michael’s in the Kaufingerstraße between Stachus and Marienplatz. Several hundred persons from all over the world take part every year. Each of the stations is taken by a different language community, and after each a traditional Passiontide song is sung in that language. For me it shows the amazing diversity yet unity of our beloved Church in following her Lord, her the suffering servant king.

The culmination of the Triduum is our Easter Vigil service, which starts after sunset on Holy Saturday with a bonfire and the lighting of the Easter Candle. We process into the dark chapel by candlelight where a cantor starts the rejoicing by singing the Church’s ancient hymn, the “Exultet”. There follows a very moving Eucharist which traces our salvation history, in readings and song, from the Creation to the Resurrection.