Open Invitation: Holy Week at Your Place

We’d love to know about your celebration of the sacred mysteries this week. Please consider sending in ( your photos, audio files, videos, leaflets, good ideas, anything else of interest, and we’ll consider posting it.

Penitentes (penitents) in Spain during Holy Week.


  1. My (selfish) request: A few years back I was at two different meetings during the weeks following Easter. At both places people wanted to start by sharing everyone’s “post mortem” of the Triduum and Easter. At both meetings I observed – out loud- that a “post mortem” was a really weird thing to be having after Easter! I offered to go first with a “post vitam” – the thing that occurred during Triduum/Easter that enlivened my Resurrection faith. Perhaps we could do that here as well.
    Yesterday: A Palm Sunday (youth) lector had prepared Philippians so carefully and powerfully that when we bent the knee at Jesus’ death during the Passion, my heart embraced those two scriptural moments as one, in a way it never had before. I don’t wish I had audio of it, because it was SO in that liturgical moment, I’m not sure my experience would be re-created.
    P.S. I’m not getting the photo that goes with this thread.

    1. The photo — perhaps Fr. Anthony could caption it. . .

      I do recognize the vestment as belonging to one of the penitent confraternities in one or another of the European, Central or South American nations. The Holy Week devotions of such penitent groups can range from the breathtaking to the grotesque (by American standards).

      Another photo from a Spanish group can be viewed here; one from a Maltese group’s Good Friday procession can be seen here, and one from a Sicilian group here.

  2. I thought it was, perhaps, some sort of penitent confraternity. To many an eye in the U.S. – I did a quick e-verification of this with a semi-random group – it looks a lot like a rally of the KKK. Those who haven’t done Holy Week travels to places where this is a regular occurrence probably will be even more inclined to see it that way.

  3. Last year after years of asking, cajoling and manipulating people to participate in the Washing of the Feet on Holy Thursday, I had the ushers set up four chairs in front of the altar and invited people to come forward to have their feet washed. Something like 25 people came forward.
    I’ll have more towels this year.

  4. At the proclamation of the Passion on Sunday, one of the lectors, who had just recovered from a difficult knee replacement, recounted the crucifixion of the Lord with such conviction and feeling; the likes of which I have never heard. Perhaps she was joining her own pain to the Lord’s. It wasn’t over the top or too dramatic; it just moved me beyond words. Made me realize I need to bring it all into the liturgy.

  5. My parish has a longstanding tradition of people in the congregation washing each other’s feet at stations set up around the church. This is a powerful ritual which underscores the Church’s diakonia. But from talking to parishioners, I realize that this ritual has taken on a life of its own-THE ritual moment of the HT liturgy. I regret that the mandatum has overtaken all other aspects. Perhaps we should alternate years on the foot washing with opening up the offertory procession to a richer sense of people bringing food and alms for the poor. We might also focus more on the institution of the Eucharist and its sacramental nature, such as using fresh-baked bread for the liturgy.

    1. You bring up the major problem that happens with adding or changing elements of the liturgy, namely that the emphasis or meaning changes. If this practice in now viewed as the norm in the parish you are going to be in for a big headache trying to get “bacl to the book.”

      1. Agreed. That’s why I’m always suspicious of anything getting entrenched in practice. If so-and-so has ALWAYS sung the exsultet, maybe it’s time for someone else to have a turn. If we have ALWAYS sung certain choral anthems at the Triduum liturgies, maybe it’s time for a change. The options should truly be optional, and the variable parts should truly vary.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.