Happy Easter, dear friends! May the joy of the risen Christ be with you all. Just like St. Mary Magdalene, one of the patron saints of the Order of Preachers, let us go and tell our brothers and sisters that our Lord is risen from the dead, because His “love is as strong as death, Passion fierce as the grave” (Song 8:6).
We hope that you had a beautiful celebration of Christ’s Pasch, and are grateful for those who were able to join us throughout the Triduum. Don’t forget—Easter is not “over”, but is really just beginning! Every day this week, we celebrate Easter Sunday all over again, with the same Divine Office and the Gloria at Mass. After the Octave, we keep celebrating the Resurrection until Ascension and Pentecost. And, of course, every Sunday throughout the year is the day of our Lord’s Resurrection. Alleluia!
Here are just a few pictures from our monastery’s celebration of Holy Week.
We go forward in procession with branches, carrying cedar boughs cut from the forest just outside our chapel door.
The office of Tenebrae at Matins and Lauds, and the veneration of the Holy Cross at three o’clock.
In the Dominican tradition, each sister who is able approaches the Cross with a series of prostrations, finishing with a venia (a profound act of humility and reverence) as she kisses the Cross. The Cross remains, with burning candles, until after Compline.
Like Good Friday, our morning begins with the office of Tenebrae at Matins and Lauds. After each psalm or reading, a candle is extinguished, symbolizing the increasing darkness as Christ enters His Passion and tomb. After the solemn intercessions, the final candle is carried out of the church and the office ends in total darkness. Here, a sister is chanting the end of the Lamentations of the Prophet Jeremiah, calling us to return to God for mercy.
Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday
Our Easter Vigil begins between our chapel and the forest, just before midnight. The Paschal candle is blessed and lit from the Paschal fire, and the coals for the Vigil’s incense are taken directly from the flames. Our chaplain carries the light into the church, symbolizing the light and hope of Christ’s Resurrection.
After seven readings and seven psalms or canticles proclaimed in almost total darkness, the lights are lit, the Gloria is sung and the bells are rung for the first time since the beginning of Lent! After a Pauline reading and the Gospel, the liturgy of the Eucharist begins. In Greek, eucharistia means thanksgiving, and on this night, we give thanks more than ever that “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not be lost but may have eternal life" (Jn 3:16).
“Christ is risen, alleluia!”
“Indeed, He is truly risen, alleluia!”
May God bless you all, and those you love, this joyous Easter season.