Mass Schedule for Saint Francis Xavier
Saturday Evening Vigil: 4:30 PM
Sunday Masses: 8:30 AM and 10:45 AM
Daily Masses: 6:45 AM Mon. Wed. Thur. Fri.
Tuesdays: Mass at 6 PM
Weekend Mass Schedule for Saint Michael/Saint Peter’s Church
Saturday: 5:00 P.M.
Sunday: 7:30 A.M.
Sunday: 9:00 A.M.
Sunday: 11:15 A.M.
The Easter Triduum begins with the Vigil of Holy Thursday. It marks the end of the forty days of Lent and the beginning of the three-day celebration of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ – Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Vigil/Easter Sunday. The Fathers of the Second Vatican Council reminded us of the extraordinary significance of the Triduum: “Christ redeemed us all and gave perfect glory to God principally through his paschal mystery: dying he destroyed our death and rising he restored our life. Therefore the Easter Triduum of the passion and resurrection of Christ is the culmination of the entire liturgical year.” (General Norms for the Liturgical Year and the Calendar, # 18)
These last Forty Days were a time of preparation for these great Three days, which is what Triduum means. These three days lead us to an empty tomb and an Octave, eight days, of celebrating the Resurrection. They also introduce an entire liturgical season, the Easter Season, which lasts for Fifty days until Pentecost.
Holy Thursday is the day on which Christ celebrated the Last Supper with His disciples, four days after His triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. Only hours after the Last Supper, Judas would betray Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane, setting the stage for Christ’s Crucifixion on Good Friday.
Holy Thursday is more than just the lead-in to Good Friday; it is, in fact, the oldest of the celebrations of Holy Week. And with good reason: Holy Thursday is the day on which Catholics commemorate the institution of three pillars of the Catholic Faith: the Sacrament of Holy Communion, the priesthood, and the Mass. During the Last Supper, Christ blessed the bread and wine with the very words that Catholic and Orthodox priests use today to consecrate the Body and Blood of Christ during the Mass and the Divine Liturgy. In telling His disciples to “Do this in remembrance of Me,” He instituted the Mass and made them the first priests.
Near the end of the Last Supper, after Judas had departed, Christ said to His disciples, “A new commandment I give unto you: That you love one another, as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” The Latin word for “commandment,” mandatum became the source for another name for Holy Thursday: Maundy Thursday.
On Holy Thursday, the priests of each diocese gather with their bishop to consecrate holy oils, which are used throughout the year for the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Orders, and the Anointing of the Sick. This ancient practice, which goes back to the fifth century, is known as the Chrism Mass (“chrism” is a mixture of oil and balsam used for the holy oils) and stresses the role of the bishop as a successor to the apostles.
Except in very rare circumstances, there is only one Mass other than the Chrism Mass celebrated on Holy Thursday in each church: the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, which is celebrated after sundown. It commemorates the institution of the Sacrament of Holy Communion, and it ends with the removal of the Body of Christ from the tabernacle in the main body of the church. The Eucharist is carried in procession to another place where it is kept overnight, to be distributed during the commemoration of the Lord’s Passion on Good Friday. After the procession, the altar is stripped bare, and all bells in the church are silent until the Gloria at the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday.
Good Friday, the Friday before Easter Sunday, commemorates the Passion and Death of our Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross. Good Friday is the second of the three days of the Easter Triduum.
From the earliest days of Christianity, no Mass has been celebrated on Good Friday; instead, the Church celebrates a special liturgy in which the account of the Passion according to the Gospel of John is read, a series of intercessory prayers (prayers for special intentions) are offered, and the faithful venerate the Cross by coming forward and kissing it. The Good Friday liturgy concludes with the distribution of Holy Communion. Since there was no Mass, Hosts that were reserved from the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday are distributed instead.
The service is particularly solemn; the organ is not played, and all vestments are red or (in the Traditional Latin Mass) black. Since the date of Good Friday is dependent on the date of Easter, it changes from year to year.
Good Friday is a day of strict fasting and abstinence. Catholics over the age of 18 and under the age of 60 are required to fast, which means that they can eat only one complete meal and two smaller ones during the day, with no food in between. Catholics who are over the age of 14 are required to refrain from eating any meat, or any food made with meat, on Good Friday.
Holy Saturday is the final day of Lent, of Holy Week, and of the Easter Triduum, the three days (Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday) immediately preceding Easter, during which Christians commemorate the Passion and Death of Jesus Christ and prepare for His Resurrection.
Also known as the Easter Vigil (a name more properly applied to the Mass on Holy Saturday night), Holy Saturday has had a long and varied history. As the Catholic Encyclopedia notes, “in the early Church this was the only Saturday on which fasting was permitted.” Fasting is a sign of penance, but on Good Friday, Christ paid with His own Blood the debt of our sins. Thus, for many centuries, Christians regarded both Saturday and Sunday, the day of Christ’s Resurrection, as days on which fasting was forbidden. (That practice is still reflected in the Lenten disciplines of the Eastern Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches, which lighten their fasts slightly on Saturdays and Sundays.)
By the second century, Christians had begun to observe a total fast (no food of any kind) for 40 hours before Easter, which meant that the entire day of Holy Saturday was a day of fasting.
As on Good Friday, there is no Mass offered for Holy Saturday. The Easter Vigil Mass, which takes place after sundown on Holy Saturday, properly belongs to Easter Sunday, since liturgically; each day begins at sundown on the previous day. (That is why Saturday vigil Masses can fulfill our Sunday Duty.) Unlike on Good Friday, when Holy Communion is distributed at the afternoon liturgy commemorating Christ’s Passion, on Holy Saturday the Eucharist is only given to the faithful as viaticum—that is, only to those in danger of death, to prepare their souls.
In the early Church, Christians gathered on the afternoon of Holy Saturday to pray and to confer the Sacrament of Baptism on catechumens—converts to Christianity who had spent Lent preparing to be received into the Church. (As the Catholic Encyclopedia notes, in the early Church, “Holy Saturday and the vigil of Pentecost were the only days on which baptism was administered.”) This vigil lasted through the night until dawn on Easter Sunday, when the Alleluia was sung for the first time since the beginning of Lent, and the faithful—including the newly baptized—broke their 40-hour fast by receiving Communion.
In the Middle Ages, beginning roughly in the eighth century, the ceremonies of the Easter Vigil, especially the blessing of new fire and the lighting of the Easter candle, began to be performed earlier and earlier. Eventually, these ceremonies were performed on Holy Saturday morning. The whole of Holy Saturday, originally a day of mourning for the crucified Christ and of expectation of His Resurrection, now became little more than an anticipation of the Easter Vigil.
With the reform of the liturgies for Holy Week in 1956, those ceremonies were returned to the Easter Vigil itself (that is, to the Mass celebrated after sundown on Holy Saturday), and thus the original character of Holy Saturday was restored.
Until the revision of the rules for fasting and abstinence in 1969 strict fasting and abstinence continued to be practiced on the morning of Holy Saturday, thus reminding the faithful of the sorrowful nature of the day and preparing them for the joy of Easter feast. While fasting and abstinence are no longer required on Holy Saturday morning, practicing these Lenten disciplines is still a good way to observe this sacred day.
National Conference of Catholic Bishops, Catholic Online, About Catholicism