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Easter at St Mary’s Cathedral

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The meaning of Easter is Jesus Christ’s victory over death.

In the lead up to Easter, there are multiple liturgies to commemorate and celebrate the lead up to Christ’s passion and ultimately His Resurrection.

Here is a description of each liturgy:

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Holy Thursday – On this day there is the morning Chrism Mass when the priests of each diocese gather with their bishop to consecrate holy oils, which are used throughout the year for the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Orders and the Anointing of the Sick. This ancient practice dates back to the fifth century and stresses the role of the bishop as a successor to the apostles.

There is only one other Mass on this day, the Mass of the Lord’s Supper which is celebrated after sundown. This Mass commemorates the institution of the Eucharist.  The person celebrating the Mass washes the feet of twelve priests to symbolise Christ’s washing the feet of His Apostles, the first priests.  After Mass the Blessed Sacrament is carried in procession to the Altar of Repose where it remains until the Communion service on Good Friday.  During the night there is the continued Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, just as the disciples stayed with the Lord during His agony on the Mount of Olives before the betrayal of Judas.

Good Friday – Is a day of fasting and penance, commemorating Christ’s crucifixion and death.  Many mark the day by participating in the Stations of the Cross.  The major Good Friday worship service begins in the afternoon at 3.00pm, traditionally marked as the time of Jesus’ death.  The celebration of Good Friday includes the reading of the Lord’s Passion, the Veneration of the Cross and the distribution of Holy Communion.

Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP Washes the feet of 12 people at St Mary’s Cathedral 2015

Saturday Evening – Service of Light and Easter Vigil – although celebrated on Holy Saturday, it is the dramatic Easter liturgy that marks the official celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus and beginning of Easter. It is the most important Mass of the liturgical year as well as the first celebration of the Eucharist during the fifty-day long celebrations of Easter, and is marked by the first use since the beginning of Lent of the acclamation “Alleluia”.  Before the Easter Vigil, the holy water fonts are drained, all the lights are extinguished, and the tabernacle is empty.  The service begins outside the church, where a new fire is lit and blessed and a new Paschal candle is prepared.  The priest lights the candle from the new fire and this processes into the church, lifting it three different times. Everyone lights their smaller candle from the Easter candle and continues in procession until the whole church is alight. The Paschal candle symbolises Christ, the Light of the world.  The Exsultet, the Easter Proclamation, is sung at the commencement of Mass, proclaiming the Lord’s Resurrection.  During the Mass the Easter water is blessed, new members are brought into the Church through baptism and the faithful are blessed with water and renew their baptismal promises.

Easter Sunday – a day of celebration commemorating the Resurrection of Christ.  Unlike during the “desert” period of Lent, churches are usually filled with flowers and other symbols of life.  It is the highest feast in the Church’s calendar.

The Holy Week Liturgies from St Mary’s Cathedral will be live streamed at The schedule is below.

Mass Times (St Mary’s Cathedral, Sydney)

Easter Mass Times

24th Maundy Thursday 10:30am Chrism Mass
6:30pm Lord’s Supper
9pm Compline
25th March Good Friday 10am Stations of the Cross
3.00pm Passion
26th March Holy Saturday 10am Tenebrae
11:30am Confession
4:30pm Confession
8:00pm Easter Vigil
27th March Easter Sunday 7am Mass
9am Mass
10:30am Mass
6pm Mass



Holy Thursday – 24 March 2016
10:30am Chrism Mass
6:30pm The Evening Mass Of The Lord’s Supper

Good Friday – 25 March 2016
Solemn Commemoration of the Passion of the Lord

Easter Vigil – 26 March 2016

Easter Sunday – 27 March 2016

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