Christ the King Catholic Church

Easter Ceremonies



Holy Thursday            7.00 pm Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper

                                      (Prayer at the Altar of Repose in the Parish Centre

                          until 11.00 pm)



Good Friday               10.00am Stations of the Cross

          3.00pm Celebration of the Lord’s Passion

                                      (Veneration of the Cross and Holy Communion)




Holy Saturday            8.00pm Easter Vigil Mass

                                      Blessing of Easter fire, candles, water.

                                      (There will be no 6.00 pm Mass this evening)



Easter Sunday            Feast of the Resurrection of the Lord

                                                9.00am and 11.00am Mass


The Easter Triduum begins with the evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper, reaches its high point in the Easter Vigil and closes with evening prayer on Easter Sunday.  There is one ritual here; it has a beginning, a climax and a conclusion.  The Easter Triduum marking the passion and resurrection of Christ is the culmination of the entire liturgical year.  Beginning tonight the church’s presumption is that normal life for church people ceases.  If we have here a parish, then these rubrics (liturgical rules) say:  All should be together!  Together we will do this Triduum or not at all.  The rubrics say: What happens here is done by the church.  So assemble the church and get on with it.  The rubrics say: Do everything possible to have everyone under one roof at one time.


Holy Thursday – Mass of the Last Supper

Before all else, the liturgy of Holy Thursday evening is the entrance into these three days.  Before we think about Holy Thursday as the night we wash feet or the night we process with the Blessed Sacrament, or the night we commemorate the Last Supper, before all of this, we see this night as the first movement of the Easter Triduum.


Quite often we stress this day as the great day for the Ordained Priesthood.  It is.  But what is demonstrated by the Mass of the Oils (Chrism) where the priests gather in unity with, and allegiance to, the Bishop of the Diocese.  Our evening celebration emphasises the Priesthood of the baptized.  That is why the ritual and symbolic foot-washing is a sign of service by all believers – for all. Certainly, the Eucharist (Mass) is a sacrifice.  It is a way of receiving Jesus under the form of bread and wine.  It is sharing the Lord’s Supper together.  It is also a sign not only of Jesus giving himself to God and us but us giving ourselves to the Father, as we give ourselves to each other.  “True life is found in the sacrifice of service.”


The oils, already blessed earlier by the Bishop are highlighted because the priest will use them in his service to others.  The foot-washing in former days was the task of servants.  Jesus shocked his disciples by being their servant.  No doubt, as the ceremony happens this night, for us, it will be embarrassing and humbling.  Hopefully, it will be for us a challenge of Christian service to each other.

The altar, the table of the Eucharist, is now prepared.  After our communal celebration, the Reserved Sacrament is taken to the altar of repose.  This is symbolic of Jesus going into the garden of Gethsemane.  We keep watch with him in prayer.  The main church is left empty.  The sense of loss is with us.  The day of sorrow is about to begin………                                                                   






On Good Friday we, the church, gather again for the continuation of the Triduum.  The silent entrance emphasises the reflective starkness of this day’s liturgy.  After the presider kneels or prostrates, we who kneel with him, do so as a sign of both our earthly nature and of the mourning and grief of the Church.  To kneel is to bow down before God in deepest reverence.


Today the Liturgy of the Word including the Intercessions are lengthy.  During the Solemn intercessions, use the silence after each invitation, to pray for specific persons and groups.  This silence is your time to offer personal intentions that will unite with those of your fellow worshippers in the concluding prayer.  You may find this silence to be very short indeed!


The highpoint of Good Friday celebrations for most Catholics is the coming forward to venerate the cross.  Turn to face the cross as it is carried in procession and sing ‘come let us worship’ in response to the priest’s ‘This is the wood of the Cross’.  Express your profound adoration of the Saviour whose death made the cross to be the holiest of all signs.


Following the Lord’s Prayer, we come forward to the altar, this time to receive the Blessed Sacrament which was consecrated the night before at the Holy Thursday liturgy.  A simple post-communion prayer is prayed.  We leave the church today in silence with our own thoughts.


Spend the rest of Good Friday in fasting, quiet prayer and meditation.  Extend the day’s liturgy to your home by placing the crucifix in a place of honour and burning a candle near it during the afternoon hours, or by reading the scriptural account of the Lord’s death and burial, before your simple evening meal.



“and bowing his head he gave up his spirit”



We walk out into the night.  The air is fresh and crisp, full of expectancy.  Although no one says it, you know you are going to participate in one of the great events of the year.  This is the night of the great vigil, the Easter Vigil.


If you are a newcomer to the Vigil this year, or if you have been a regular for many years, one good suggestion is to leave your watch at home or in your pocket.  The Easter Vigil lasts significantly longer than an ordinary Sunday Mass, so remove whatever can distract you from the important words and actions of the liturgy.  Come prepared to be a participant rather than a spectator.  Even if you don’t see or hear or understand everything the first time around, the Vigil is still your celebration.  You are part of the parish family that is helping to make something grand happen.  We need your ‘full, conscious and active participation’ in this celebration.


The Easter Vigil has four parts:


  • The Service of Light - and the blessing of the pascal fire open the Vigil.  The fire is a sign of hope, of purification of new beginnings and of celebration.  The pascal fire becomes for us a great focal point for our victory celebration.  Meantime, the Church is in complete darkness, which represents our unredeemed condition.  Into the darkness comes the Light of Christ, symbolized by the candle, the joyous light of the holy glory of the heavenly, immortal Father.  The Exultet follows, the most page of history (it is 1500 years old) ever written on the Pascal Mystery.


  • Liturgy of the Word – We then settle down and read a number of passages from the Old Testament, which cover the major events of salvation history.  After each reading, we read or sing a psalm, then stand as the celebrant leads us in the prayer which relates the reading to our salvation and our baptism.


  • Liturgy of Baptism – As we watch the ceremony of the baptism of RCIA candidates or of infants, we think of the implication of our Christian calling.  If there are no candidates for baptism, the community renews their own baptismal vows.  From the newly blessed water, the Priest blesses the community, recalling that in our baptism we are a new creation in Christ Jesus.


  • Liturgy of the Eucharist – This is the Eucharist of the Church’s year:  In sign and sacrament, holy story and song, the dying and rising of Jesus in the midst of the people are once again enacted. Sharing in the Holy gifts of the altar we find ourselves made one with Christ and rejoice in this foretaste of the glory of God’s kingdom.​​


Rejoice, the Lord has risen.  Alleluia

© 2018      Faith Development Ministries, 1/243 New Brighton Road, Christchurch, 8061, New Zealand. Tel: +64 21 413 659

  • facebook-square
  • Twitter Square