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From the depths of sorrow to the joy of new life

Observer Viewpoint | Wednesday, March 23, 2005

During this week, we will celebrate moments of deepest grief and sorrow, as well as occasions of great hope and unbridled joy. This week, we accompany Jesus from the Last Supper through the days of his passion and death and to his resurrection. Tomorrow, with our celebration of the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart at 5 p.m., we will join hundreds of millions of Catholics around the world to celebrate the Easter Triduum.

On Holy Thursday, we celebrate our call to loving service of all people as the liturgy center on the example Jesus gave us when he washed the feet of his disciples at the Last Supper. That night is very special to us as well, for it was at the Last Supper where Jesus instituted the Eucharist and established the priesthood so that what he did could be repeated in Christian communities until the end of time. When we celebrate the Eucharist remembering the life-giving death of Jesus, the effects of this saving mystery are made present to us.

On Good Friday at 3 p.m., we will gather for the Celebration of the Lord’s Passion. The liturgy includes the sung Passion according to John, the great prayers for the Church and for the world asking that the saving death of Jesus might assist all believers to come to know God’s love expressed through the cross, the veneration of the Cross and reception of the Eucharist.

The Stations of the Cross will be celebrated Friday evening.

After a day of prayer and waiting, the great Easter Vigil will be celebrated on Saturday night. Through the use of symbols, song and readings from Scripture, Salvation history is recounted until a moment when the resurrection of Jesus from the dead is proclaimed and celebrated. The Basilica comes to life as it is bathed in light, and as the sounds of the organ and bells, and alleluias fill that sacred space. The newest members of our Notre Dame community will be welcomed as members of the Catholic Church as their receive baptism, and the end of Lent is marked by the renewal of baptismal promises by joy-filled believers.

Easter Sunday Masses will be celebrated at 8 a.m., 10 and noon. And as is our tradition on campus, an unpublished Mass at 9 p.m. will bring hundreds of Notre Dame students to the Basilica for a great celebration with the Notre Dame Folk Choir.

Throughout these holy days, there will be many opportunities for communal and private prayer, as well as for sacramental reconciliation. The Basilica will be open for all of us to simply enjoy a few moments of silence at the end of Lent, and to think about our relationship to Jesus Christ, the Church and our community of believers.

Notre Dame has always been a place where the Eucharist is treasured by the members of our community and where liturgy is celebrated in a beautiful and moving way with the assistance of many members of the staffs of Campus Ministry and of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart. And thanks, as well, to the generous service of hundreds of students who provide music for our ceremonies and who serve in the many different ministries.

If you are away from Campus with family and friends, know that you will be remembered in our prayers this week, and be sure to see how beautiful the Basilica is when you return. If you will be on Campus, please join us for as many of these moments of prayer as you can during the holiest days of our faith.

Richard Warner is the director of Campus Ministry. He can be contacted at Warner.2@nd.edu.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.