The Diocese of Buffalo is celebrating the Holy Week Triduum of the Roman Catholic Church during this sacred time leading up to Easter Sunday.
On Tuesday, at the Chrism Mass held at St. Joseph's Cathedral, three separate urns of oil were offered by the faithful and presented to Bishop Malone for blessing and consecration —the Oil of the Catechumens, the Oil of the Sick, and finally the Oil for the Holy Chrism. The Oil of Chrism is mixed with fragrant balsam and consecrated because of its prominent place in the rites of Christian Initiation and Holy Orders. Anointing with the sacred oils is integral to several of the sacraments and other rites of the church. At the Chrism Mass, the gathered priests participated in a powerful remembrance of their ordination day as Bishop Malone called upon them to renew and recommit themselves to the sacred promises they made that day. Not only the priests, but all baptized are called to renewal. In the consecration of the Chrism, the Bishop prayed that "all who are anointed may be inwardly transformed and come to share in eternal salvation." Following the Chrism Mass, the sacred oils were distributed to representatives of every parish in the diocese.
On Holy Thursday, the Gospel described Jesus performing a final act of service for his disciples, telling them "I have set an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him." Holy Thursday included the foot washing ceremony, an important call for bishops, pastors and all the faithful to be willing to serve others in a spirit of humility. Jesus' gesture broke down and removed the boundaries that surrounded feet-washing - and serving; this is something that he wanted his disciples to continue. Christ's gesture shows that no expression of love is beneath him and in doing so he tells us that it should not be for us either. This powerful display of love can and should dictate how we express love for each other. Jesus teaches us to go spiritually on our knees before our brothers and sisters to serve, especially the poor and the hurting. Among those whose feet were washed by Bishop Malone were victim-survivors of clergy sexual abuse.
Good Friday can be described as the most solemn day of Holy Week, as it commemorates Jesus Christ's Passion, crucifixion, and death at Calvary. It is observed as part of the Paschal Triduum on the Friday preceding Easter Sunday. All are welcome to join Bishop Malone at St. Joseph's Cathedral for the 12noon Good Friday Liturgy. Finally, on Saturday the Easter Vigil celebration retelling the history of God's saving presence culminating in the resurrection of Jesus will be held at 8pm, also at the Cathedral. Easter is the greatest feast on our Catholic calendar. On Easter Sunday, we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead which comes at the end of 40 days of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving known as Lent. He is risen - Alleluia!