St. Gall begins Holy Week with Passover meal
Holy Week of the year 2000 began at St. Gall Catholic Church in Gardnerville with the Passion (Palm) Sunday procession from the wooden cross near the Centerville Road entrance to the church, where the congregation received palms that Father Bill Nadeau asked God to bless with the holy water he sprinkled on them.
From there, the congregation processed into the church singing “The King of Glory comes, the nation rejoices.” The service commemorated Christ’s triumphant entrance into Jerusalem that preceded by just a few days his death and resurrection. In just a few short days, Christ went from being welcomed with joyful exuberance to being condemned and put to death.
The three days leading up to Easter are the focal point of Holy Week, beginning with Holy Thursday, which begins with the evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper at 7 p.m. Catholics believe by partaking of the “Passover meal” they are in actuality there with Christ at the Last Supper. The opening prayer reminds participants that “we are gathered here to share in the supper which your only Son left to his Church to reveal his love.” The first reading (Exodus 12:1-8, 11-14) gives the background and details for the Passover meal. The second reading (1 Corinthians 11:23-26) contains the earliest written account of the Lord’s Supper. “I received from the Lord what I handed on to you, namely that the Lord Jesus on the night in which he was betrayed took bread, and after he had given thanks, broke it and said, ‘This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.'”
The Gospel proclaimed at this Mass of the Lord’s Supper presents John’s account (13:1-15, 22:14-20) of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples, and the congregation sees and experiences the occasion, when Father Bill Nadeau takes off his Mass vestment and takes water and a towel and leads the congregation in the humble act of washing of each others’ feet.
The Good Friday of the Passion of the Lord begins with a traditional noon celebration, commemorating the actual hours Christ is thought to have spend dying on the cross, from noon until 3 p.m. Catholics remember Good Friday with a day of fasting and abstinence, eating just two small meals and one moderate one, with no snacks and no meat. A re-enactment of the Passion of the Lord will be performed at 7 p.m. by the St. Gall Spirit Group, a group of confirmation and post-confirmation youths who have committed themselves to walk in Christ’s footsteps.
On Holy Saturday at 7 p.m., celebrants will gather for the Easter Vigil Mass, at which time the St. Gall Catholic community will welcome into its fold the candidates who have spent the past year and two on their journey into the Catholic faith. All candidates who have previously been baptized into a Christian faith will receive their first Eucharist (Holy Communion) and Confirmation, and all those who have never been baptized into a Christian faith will also be baptized. All members of the congregation will renew their baptismal promises as well. The Easter Vigil Mass will be accompanied by the contemporary choir and pianist Anthony Janssen.
Easter Sunday services are at 8 a.m. and 10:30 a.m., which will each be accompanied by one of St. Gall’s contemporary music groups. The 10:30 Mass will be followed by an Easter egg hunt, and children are invited to bring along their Easter baskets for a special blessing. The celebration of the risen Christ is the culmination of Holy Week and the basis of Christian faith.
The letter of St. Paul to the Romans makes explicit the fact that Christ’s resurrection is “our” resurrection when he said, “Are you not aware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Through baptism into his death we were buried with him, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live a new life.” (6:3-4).
St. Gall parishoners will sing “Alleluia” – a word not heard during the 40 days of Lent.