Holy Week in the Christian Church
The importance of Holy Week in the Christian church and the liturgies on Friday April 1st
Easter Sunday is a day of immense celebration in the life of the Church, rejoicing in Christ's victory over death and our share in His resurrection. However, the church also leads us to reflect in a solemn way leading up to this joyous day by means of Lent and Holy Week.
In the Lenten season, Catholics mark the start of Lent by receiving ashes on their foreheads reminding us of the ways we have fallen short of doing good and our human nature that can often fail at doing the right thing. This is, however, not a time to feel bad about ourselves, rather, it is a time to recognise that, in our faults, there is great mercy and forgiveness for us. We can work to improve ourselves, each other and world in which we live by either ‘giving up’ or taking up something such as chocolate or social media and ‘take up’ something, extra such as prayer or walking or cycling to work. In this way, we help to re-order our attitude to ourselves, to each other and to the world around us.
It is important for all of us to stop and take stock as a College and consider how we might continue to grow in our ‘good qualities’ as well as becoming better human beings by working on those areas in our lives that are not so good. We should do this all through our lives but Lent is a time in which the Church invites us to really focus on these areas by means of service to the poor, prayer and abstaining from certain luxuries. All through Lent the Church provides liturgical opportunities in which to grow deeper in all these things and we, as a College, also provide you, in the framework of an educational setting, a chance to engage in Lenten liturgies also.
This year we have liturgies provided for both Year 1 and Year 2. In this time we will focus on the story of when Christ washed the feet of his disciples and all the ways that this might encourage and inspire us to be. This act of Christ tells us too to be like him, to be 'foot washers' at the service of others and to be servant leaders.
Through engaging in this Lenten season and all it has to offer we can learn together through prayer, stillness, action, surrender, receptivity and listening, thereby learning how to live out not just these 40 days of Lent, but every day of our lives to make better ourselves and the world.
Dominic Cunliffe - Chaplain