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Holy Week and Easter 2023

During Holy Week, the Church celebrates the mysteries of salvation accomplished by Christ in the last days of his life on earth, beginning with his messianic entrance into Jerusalem. This year the Lenten season lasts until Thursday, 6th April - Holy Thursday. The Easter Triduum begins with the evening Mass of the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday.

We hope the following information and resources will assist the faithful with their observance of Holy Week and Easter. Do join in on social media using the hashtag #LivingHolyWeek to connect with others and share how you are living Holy Week this year.

The following resources are included below:

  • Mass Readings for Holy Week and Easter
  • Details of services in St Eugene's Cathedral for Holy Week and Easter
  • Details of Pope Francis' schedule for Holy Week and the Easter Triduum
  • Details of Easter Services on Television and Radio
  • Prayers

Readings for Holy Week and Easter 

All daily Mass readings are available on

Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion

The six weeks of Lent are a preparation for the last three days of this week, Holy
Thursday, Good Friday and the Easter Vigil. We celebrate the central event of our
religion, the death and the resurrection of Christ, the Saviour of the world.

Monday in Holy Week, 3 April

Our attention is now focused on the great mystery of Christ, dying and rising. The sense of impending doom hovers over the actions of Jesus. Like a lamb led to the slaughter, Christ does not cry out or shout aloud. Mary's anointing becomes one of preparation of the body for burial after death. All things are being readied for the final hour. The chrism is prepared for blessing by the bishop this week: it will be used to sign new Christians with the Cross, to seal them for Christ.

Tuesday in Holy Week, 4 April

The words of Isaiah speak beautifully of our vocation in Christ. Chosen before birth, given great gifts of body and mind, called to be servant of the Most High, and destined to be a light of the nations so that Christ's salvation may be brought to the ends of the earth. Such is our destiny. And yet, we can fail. We can reject this calling, give way to weakness. Both Judas and Peter in their weakness are put before us today, one to betray, the other to deny. So close to Jesus and yet capable of losing him.

Wednesday in Holy Week, 5 April

Spy Wednesday we call it – for Judas has left his mark on our calendars. The pain of his betrayal is to be felt in the account of Saint Matthew's Gospel. And thirty pieces of silver goes into language currency ever since. At the end of this lent, which has seen us trying to purify ourselves of all that is not Christian, these thirty pieces of silver come before us as a warning.

Holy Thursday, 6 April

The Easter Triduum

Christ redeemed us all and gave perfect glory to God principally through his paschal mystery: dying he destroyed our death and rising he restored our life. Therefore the Easter Triduum of the Passion and Resurrection of Christ is the culmination of the entire liturgical year. The celebration of the paschal mystery is not simply a recalling of past events in history. It is a sacramental celebration that renders present and actualises the saving power of Christ's death and Resurrection to the Church.

Evening Mass of the Lord's Supper

The washing of feet, which is already optional, is to be omitted this year. At the end of the Mass of the Lord's Supper the procession is also omitted and the Blessed Sacrament is to be kept in the tabernacle. On this day the faculty to celebrate Mass in a suitable place, without the presence of the people, is exceptionally granted to all priests.

The Scripture readings this evening direct our minds at the opening of the great Paschal celebration to the meaning of what we celebrate. We are entering into this mystery in such a way that when we break bread and share this cup that we once more proclaim the death of the Lord. With this Mass of the Lord's Supper the Church begins the sacred Easter Triduum and devotes itself to the remembrance of the Last Supper.

Good Friday 7 April, Celebration of the Lord's Passion 

Saint John's account of the Passion is more reflective and theological. He emphasises Jesus' obedience to the Father's will. The kingship of Jesus is asserted: the crucifixion is a victory, the hour of death is also the hour triumph. 'Christ gives his life, he is "lifted up" on the Cross, but willingly'.

In contemplating the Cross of its Lord, the Church commemorates its own origin and its mission to extend to all peoples the blessed effects of Christ's Passion that it celebrates on this day in a spirit of thanksgiving for his marvellous gift.

In the Universal Prayer, Bishops will arrange to have a special intention prepared for those who find themselves in distress, the sick, the dead, (cf. Missale Romanum). The adoration of the Cross by kissing it shall be limited solely to the celebrant.

Holy Saturday, 8 April, Easter Vigil
In accord with ancient tradition, this night is one of vigil for the Lord. Saint Augustine called it 'the mother of all vigils'. The Gospel of Saint Luke reminds the faithful to have their lamps burning ready, awaiting their master's return, so that when he arrives he will find them wide awake and will seat them at his table.

There are several different elements to the Easter Vigil: The Service of Light, the Liturgy of the Word, Liturgy of Baptism and Liturgy of the Eucharist.

The new fire is blessed outside the church, and its flames should be such that they dispel the darkness and light up the night. All present hold candles to which the light of the new Paschal Candle is gradually passed. The Liturgy of the Word follows with readings from sacred scripture. This year, for the "Baptismal Liturgy" only the "Renewal of Baptismal Promises" is maintained (cf. Missale Romanum). The celebration of the Eucharist which follows is in the fullest sense the Easter Sacrament, the commemoration of the sacrifice of the Cross and the presence of the Risen Christ.

Easter Sunday 9 April 2023 – Easter Day of the Lord's Resurrection 

'Christ is risen, alleluia!' This is the ancient Christian greeting on this day of great joy and happiness for all. Easter is not simply one feast among others, but the "Feast of feasts". The mystery of the Resurrection, in which Christ crushed death, permeates with its powerful energy our old time, until all is subjected to him. (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1169)

The Easter Season

The celebration of Easter is prolonged throughout the Easter season. The fifty days from Easter Sunday to pentecost Sunday are celebrated as one feast day, 'the great Sunday'.

This sacred period concludes with Pentecost Sunday when the gift of the Holy Spirit to the apostles, the beginnings of the Church, and the start of its mission to all tongues and peoples and nations are commemorated.

Easter events in St Eugene's Cathedral, Derry 

The following services and liturgies will take place during Holy Week in Saint Eugene's Cathedral, Derry. All are welcome.

Holy Thursday 

10:00am - Mass of Chrism
Bishop McKeown will celebrate the Mass of Chrism with priests from all over the Diocese. During the Mass the Holy Oils which will be used in Baptism, Confirmation, Anointing of the Sick and Ordination are blessed. Bishop McKeown and the priests will renew their priestly vows to serve Christ and His Church.

7.30pm - Concelebrated Mass of the Lord's Supper
Celebrating the gift of the Eucharist and the ministry of service
On Thursday evening we celebrate the Mass of the Lord's Supper. We gather with
Jesus and the apostles in the upper room. There it is revealed to us that to be the body
of Christ we are called to serve. We are called to wash the feet of others – to be their
humble servants.

Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament at the Altar of Repose until 11.00pm
Praying at the Garden of Gethsemane
On Thursday night we wait as the Body of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane. We
share in the fear and loneliness of Jesus as he reaches the depths of despair.

Good Friday

We meditate on the Passion and the death of Jesus. We focus on the cross-the crude
instrument that took the life of our saviour- the key that opened eternal life for us all.
This is a day of fast and abstinence – there is an obligation to fast (one main meal, two
light meals in the day and to abstain from meat. The Law of Fasting obliges all Catholics
between the ages of 18 and 59 years (except the sick). The Law of Abstinence obliges
all Catholics over the age of 14 years.

10.00am - Morning Prayer

3.00pm - Celebration of the Passion
We walk with Jesus on the path to Calvary

7.30pm - Celebration of the Passion

Holy Saturday

On this day we wait as the body of our saviour lies dead in the tomb

10.00am - Morning Prayer
We wait at the tomb

Confessions from 11.30am to 6.00pm

10.00pm - Easter Vigil
Tonight is the high point of the Church's year as we celebrate the resurrection of our Saviour 

The Easter Vigil – In the words of St Augustine "this is the mother of all vigils". The
Easter Triduum reaches its high point on this most holy night. On this night we tell our
story. It is not just a distant memory; it is not only historical fact-it is living reality. It
is the story of salvation. We are a saved people. Through his cross and resurrection
Christ has set us free. We symbolise our salvation and freedom with fire and the single
flame of the paschal candle. We have been called out of darkness into the wonderful
life of Christ.

Easter Sunday

We are a resurrected people and alleluia is our song

Masses celebrating the Resurrection of the Lord will be celebrated at 7.00am, 9.30am, 11.00am, 12.30pm and 7.00pm

Schedule of Pope Francis for Holy Week and Easter  

Holy Week, which is the culmination of the 40-day Lenten period, is the most solemn period for Christians worldwide, who celebrate the solemn mysteries of Christ's passion, death and resurrection.

The Vatican has published the pope's schedule for Holy Week and Easter.

Holy Week Broadcasts on Television and Radio  

Holy Thursday

Mass of the Lord's Supper (16.40-17.35 RTÉ One TV & 19.00-19.55 RTÉ Radio 1 Extra / LW252)

Good Friday

Solemn Liturgy for Good Friday (15.00-16.00 RTÉ One TV & RTÉ Radio 1 Extra / LW252)

Holy Saturday

Easter Vigil Mass (22.50-00.05 on RTÉ One TV & 23.00- 00.15 on RTÉ Radio 1 Extra / LW252)

Easter Sunday

Mass for Easter Sunday (10.00-11.00, RTÉ One & RTÉ Radio 1 Extra / LW252). 

Urbi et Orbi (11.45-12.10, RTÉ One)

Pope Francis delivers his message and Easter blessing to the city and the world from St Peter's Basilica, Vatican City.

Prayers for Easter 

Holy Thursday Prayer

Lord God,
You sent your Son into the world,
And before his hour had come,
He washed his disciples' feet.

You had given all things into his hands.
He had come from you, and was going to you,
And what did he do?
He knelt down on the floor,
And washed his friends' feet.

He was their teacher and their Lord,
Yet he washed their feet.
Lord God, help us learn from his example;
Help us to do as he has done for us.

The world will know we are his disciples
If we love one another.
Strengthen our hands and our wills for love
And for service.

Keep before our eyes the image of your Son,
Who, being God, became a Servant for our sake.
All glory be to him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
One God, now and forever.


Prayer at 3 o'clock on Good Friday

Jesus, you are my Lord and my God,
you endured such pain and suffering for me,
you died for love of me.
I kneel beneath your cross
and beg for mercy.
Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner.
O blood and water flowing from your side,
sanctify and cleanse me.
Lord, I love you with all my heart
and place all my trust in you.


Diana Ng-Sutherland/CAFOD

Walk with us

Jesus, you know what it's like
to feel abandoned
lost and afraid.

Walk with us

And show us how to walk with others,
who live in fear,
who face death
through hunger or war.

Show us how to pray
for those we do not know
and will not meet,
but who are always loved by you.

Walk with us Jesus, Amen.

Linda Jones/CAFOD

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Mass of Chrism 2022
Homily - Fifth Sunday in Lent C - Bishop McKeown

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BT48 9AP

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