There is a reason why this week is called Holy Week. As a kid, these words directly translated to daily, long bouts of sitting in the pews of St. Ambrose Cathedral in a tiny ocean town in southwestern Nova Scotia.
I recall looking forward to this time of the year as it was typically marked by a solid diet of family togetherness, sugar and, let’s not forget, pyrotechnics at the long-awaited Easter vigil.
Though for many of us Easter more immediately means an end to our chocolate withdrawal, there is a profound spiritual journey that is being realized as we celebrate the Passion and Resurrection of our Lord.
It seems that the rest of the world, no matter how far removed from the Christian realities surrounding Easter, seems to recognize that this time of the year is important. Good Friday has long been known for its standing room-only services, where many of those present are darkening the church doors for the first time in years.
And so we posed our Perspectives question of the week: “Why do more people go to Mass on Good Friday than on Easter Sunday?”
“Perhaps people find Good Friday to be a day of atonement, where guilt is heavier laden,” Stefanie Romano offered in response to our question of the week via Facebook.
Or as Maria Santarossa Robbie puts it:
All those ‘extra’ people that go feel probably guilty that they never go to church all year and call themselves Catholics; they maybe go for duty or "penance" but they don’t see the whole picture... of Jesus dying but then gloriously rising to life on Easter. If they truly paid attention and thought about how the story ends they would get it... that is actually a very true reality and not just a story; but then they would "have" to go every Sunday and that is too much for their comfortable life? If you believe, then why not act on it all year round...?
This question definitely sparked some discussion.
Join us this Friday as we pose the same question to Bishop William McGrattan
, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Toronto and our very own Father Thomas Rosica, CSB, who join us for our Holy week Perspectives episode.
It is humbling to think that for thousands of years, the Paschal mystery continues to deepen over time as thousands of new homilies, reflections and artistic representations are produced as the Holy Spirit reveals them; each of them communicating age-old truths yet merely scratching the surface of the Easter season and the meaning of Christ’s Great Sacrifice on Calvary.
As a former chemical engineer, parish pastor, professor, past rector of St. Peter’s Seminary in London and now bishop of Toronto, Bishop McGrattan offers his insights on how we, the faithful can strive to “keep Holy Week holy”. Fr. Rosica, whose experiences as chaplain of the University of Toronto’s Newman centre and now as CEO of Salt +Light will share with us his insights on living out old truths in new and inspired ways.
Tune in tonight at 7pm or 11pm ET/8pm PT, or Easter Sunday (April 4th) at the same times, as we discuss Easter devotions and the “mass influx” phenomenon as churches all over the world brace themselves to meet their children (some of them prodigal) as they make their way home for the most sacred time of the year.
CNS photo/J.D. Long-Garcia, Catholic Sun, Arizona