Bishop issues invitation to Holy Week events
By BRUCE WALTON
Bishop George V. Murry of the Catholic Diocese of Youngstown says Holy Week is the most important time in Christian religion because, as St. Paul said, “If Christ is not raised from the dead, then our faith is in vain.”
For Christians, Holy Week follows the son of God’s final days on Earth and the crucial moments that define their faith today: The crucifixion of Jesus and his resurrection three days later.
Good Friday marks the day leading to Jesus’s arrest, imprisonment, trials and eventual execution by crucifixion. Good Friday commemorates the last day of Jesus, betrayed by his disciple, Judas Iscariot and executed by the Romans.
The Diocese has public services and Mass from Holy Thursday to Easter Sunday in St. Columba Cathedral, 144 W. Wood St.
“We invite people to walk with Jesus through his passion and through his death,” Bishop Murry said.
The church takes in about 4,500 visitors through all the services over the four days of Holy Week, Bishop Murry said. On Good Friday, there are a few readings about the crucifixion as well the display of a cross. After the readings, people can come up and kiss the cross as a sign of respect for the lord as he gave his life.
“Jesus talked about himself as the innocent lamb who takes on all the sins of men and women through history, and by shedding his blood he asks his father to forgive his sins,” the Bishop noted.
Holy Saturday, commemorating the time between Jesus’s death and resurrection, Bishop Murry said, is often overlooked. The day is set aside as a “time of vigil,” a time of meditation.
“The time in between is intended to be a time of prayer and mediation, to encourage all of us, priests and people, to pray about and to think about what was going on with Jesus at that time because of the reason of the crucifixion,” he said.
On Holy Thursday, Bishop Murry gave a sermon about the gift God has given to his son, which is received in the Holy Eucharist, or last supper. Today at 3 p.m., he will speak about how all of humanity has contributed to the crucifixion of Jesus because of the sins of man.
“It was not just the fact that the Romans crucified him; the Romans were the instrument. All through the scriptures, it talks about how God will send a savior to reunite God with humanity and to ask forgiveness for humanity,” he explained.
On Easter, he will give a sermon on the joy of resurrection when he explains that resurrection is more than rising from the dead, but also about overcoming obstacles or problems through prayer.
“God’s presence in our lives on a daily basis enables us to rise up,” the Bishop said.