Cardinal Seán's Blog

Cardinal Seán shares his reflections & experiences.

Archive for 2007/04

Christ is Risen, Alleluia!

Christ is Risen, Alleluia!

Earlier this week I spent some time visiting my family, as I usually try to do in the days following Easter. After having spent some wonderful time with them I am now in Paraguay to attend the installation of my brother bishop and dear friend Bishop Adalberto Martnez Flores as bishop of the diocese of San Pedro.

Because this is a very busy time and I am doing a great deal of traveling I have decided to wait until I return to share all of the details of my trip with you.

In the meantime, Id like to share with you these photos of the Easter Triduum celebrations I presided over here in the Archdiocese of Boston.

A happy and blessed Easter week to you all!

– – –

On Holy Thursday we celebrated the Mass of the Lords Supper in which Christ in instituted the priesthood and the Eucharist.

Before the Last Supper, Christ washed the feet of His disciples. Now, the Holy Land is a very dry dusty place and the people wore only sandals so you can imagine that their feet were quite a sight! For this reason, the task of washing feet was relegated to the servant of the household.

By washing the feet of His disciples, Christ took the role of the servant and told the disciples that to follow him they must do likewise.

So on Holy Thursday the priest celebrating the Mass symbolically washes the feet of some members of the congregation as a sign that he like all of us are called to be humble servants of the Lord.


I perform the washing of the feet




Several of the Franciscans of the Primitive observance attend the Mass


Exchanging a sign of Christ’s peace


Several sisters of the Sister-Disciples of the Divine Master attended
and provided important assistance throughout the Triduum


After Communion, the Blessed Sacrament is carried in procession to a place of repose in the chapel of the Cathedral. The Eucharist will not be celebrated again until we celebrate Christ’s resurrection at the Easter Vigil.

– – –

On Good Friday we have the Celebration of the Lord’s Passion. Traditionally, the celebration takes place at 3 p.m. — the hour of Christ’s death. In our Cathedral we have a celebration in English at 3 p.m. and a Spanish-language celebration later in the evening.
The celebration consists of three parts: the Liturgy of the Word, the Veneration of the Cross and Holy Communion. As I mentioned above, although there is a Communion service, the Eucharist is not celebrated. In fact it is the tradition of the Church that none of the sacraments (except the Anointing of the Sick) are celebrated from Good Friday until the Easter Vigil.


The Good Friday celebration begins with the priest

and deacons prostrating themselves before the altar.


After the homily and the prayers of the faithful that are always longer than usual on Good Friday, the cross is brought in procession for veneration. Embedded in the base of this cross, which usually hangs in our Cathedral, is a small, round reliquary which contains a small sliver of the True Cross.



The faithful kiss the cross in veneration. This is not to venerate the physical item itself but is done as a sign of acknowledgment that Christ, through His sufferings on the Cross, redeemed our sins and brought us to new life in his resurrection.


All other crosses and statues were covered in recognition of Christ’s passion.
The crosses were uncovered after the Good Friday liturgies
and the statues before the Easter Vigil started.


The Hispanic Choir at the cathedral


Approaching the Cross


I venerate the Cross at our evening celebration

– – –

On Saturday night we celebrated the Great Vigil of Easter in which we rejoice in the Paschal Mystery of Christs victory over death for us.

The Vigil begins outside the cathedral with the Service of Light during which there is the blessing of the fire and the lighting of the Easter candle.

The fire is a sign of Christ, the Light of the World

After the fire is blessed, I inscribe a cross, the Greek letters alpha and omega and the numerals 2007 in the wax of the cross


The inscription is made close to the blessed bonfire
from which the paschal candle will be lit

After the inscription, five grains of incense on pins incased in a piece of wax resembling a nail are inserted in the paschal candle, symbolic of the five wounds of Christ in the Cross



The Easter candle is lit


From the Easter candle, smaller candles are lit
for the members of the congregation
and we process into the church lit only by candlelight


Delivering my homily. The altar was beautifully decorated


The Easter Vigil is traditionally the time at which

non-infants receive the Sacrament of Baptism

As Christ gave us new life through His death and resurrection,
so the catechumens receive new life through the waters of Baptism



After the baptisms, the assembly is sprinkled with Holy Water
as a recollection of our own Baptism

– – –

On Easter Sunday morning I celebrated a televised Mass in the studios of WHDH-TV, channel 7.


A WHDH-TV technician places the microphone right before the Mass


The studio chapel is decorated with several beautiful stained glass windows

Sprinkling the audience with Holy Water


I gladly spoke with the WHDH-TV reporter

– – –

For the photo of the week I have chosen this close-up of the crucifix we adored on Good Friday at the Cathedral


Happy Easter to everyone.

Cardinal Sen