Holy Week and Easter Sunday scheduled events announced

This Sunday, March 24, the Catholic Diocese of Arlington will join with the universal church as Catholics and other Christians enter the most sacred week of the year, beginning with Palm Sunday and culminating in the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus on Easter Sunday.

Numerous liturgies and special events will mark Holy Week and Easter.

Some sacred liturgies will take place at other diocesan parishes or locations, as the Cathedral of St. Thomas More, the mother church of the Diocese of Arlington, is under renovation in preparation for the diocesan golden jubilee.

Reporters interested in covering any of these services should reach out to Mary Shaffrey, director of media relations, at mary.shaffrey@arlingtondiocese.org or 703-841-2517.

Palm Sunday, March 24 

Catholic churches throughout the diocese will commemorate Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem. Blessed palms will be distributed at the beginning of Mass as parishioners recall the crowds of people who waved palm branches upon Jesus' arrival. On this day, the “Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ” is read as the Gospel at Mass. This lengthy reading includes Jesus' entry into Jerusalem, then recalls his journey to the cross, the Last Supper, the Agony in the Garden, Jesus' arrest and Crucifixion.

Chrism Mass, March 26- All Saints Catholic Church, Manassas, Va.

The Chrism Mass is a time when the priests of the diocese come together to renew their priestly promises. Bishop Michael F. Burbidge will also bless the Holy Oils that will be carried back to each parish, including the Oil of the Catechumens, used later in the week for those entering the Catholic faith at the Easter Vigil and throughout the year, as well as the Oil of the Sick used in the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick. The Sacred Chrism, which is used at baptisms, confirmations, the ordination of priests and bishops, and the dedication of churches and altars, is also consecrated during this Mass. 

Good Friday, March 29 - Stations of the Cross

The Living Stations of the Cross is a centuries-old tradition where participants re-enact the final hours of the life of Jesus Christ, from his scourging and carrying of the cross, to his crucifixion.  The re-enactment offers a glimpse into what Jesus endured as he carried the cross to Calvary.  Bishop Burbidge has called these ceremonies a “powerful witness.”

Holy Saturday, March 30 - Easter Vigil Mass

This most ancient liturgy of the Church begins in darkness and ends in the light of Easter. During the Vigil Mass, those who have gone through the Order of Christian Initiation of Adults, commonly known as OCIA, are welcomed into the faith through Baptism. Parishes throughout the diocese will celebrate this special Mass on Holy Saturday evening.

Easter Sunday, March 31

Jesus Christ is risen! Easter is the most sacred holiday in the Catholic faith. Parishes throughout the diocese will celebrate Mass beginning at sunrise.

Bishop Michael F. Burbidge will celebrate Easter Sunday Mass at the Fredericksburg Expo Center in Fredericksburg, Va. at 10:15 a.m.