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3 April 2020

Celebrating Easter

The disruption to the liturgical calendar of the Church caused by the coronavirus includes…

The disruption to the liturgical calendar of the Church caused by the coronavirus includes the impact to teaching and learning during Lent, Holy Week and Easter, as well as participation in Ritual and Liturgy.

It is a sad time, something like the initial experience of Mary Magdalene as she stood outside the empty tomb of Jesus (John 20:11-13):

But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.”

This was a pinnacle moment in salvation history. Over the months following Mary Magdalene’s discovery, and indeed ever since Christ’s Ascension and Pentecost, we learned and now know that the Body of Christ is the Church, and as Jesus said, “not even the gates of hell will hold out against it” (Matthew 16:18). Mary Magdalene’s sadness turned to hope and joy. Similarly, the Church remains alive, hopeful, joyful and open during this pandemic. Moreover, the Church through Holy Week and Easter points us to an understanding that life has its glory (Palm Sunday) and its suffering (Good Friday) and its ultimate triumph (Resurrection on Easter Sunday).

At Blackfriars, we are providing families with opportunities to continue the ritual and liturgy of the Church as much as practicable. The following are a number of suggestions and resources:

The clip of the “Urbi et Orbi” blessing presided over by Pope Francis is very moving.

Students have access to an online Religious Education resource called Understanding Faith.  There is a Primary version and a Secondary version.

Please note that the Primary version is a temporary trial subscription that we may purchase if there is a demand for it.  The Secondary school has a subscription.

Teachers will have provided lessons from these resources as appropriate. However, they contain material that could be used as a family, not just for an academic Religious Education curriculum. For example, Stations of the Cross is available in a number of versions for different age-groups and may act as a substitute to attending a Church for a Stations of the Cross liturgy. (Each class normally does a Stations of the Cross Liturgy each year at school.)

This version is for Years 7 and 8. It is Unit 7, Part 4, page 10, and it continues to the next page which also has a slideshow prayer of the Stations of the Cross

This resource is for the whole of Lent.  Part 4 is dedicated to Holy Week.  Whilst it is aimed at Years 3 and 4 academically, it is appropriate for all ages. This is Unit 31 of the Primary Understanding Faith resource

There is a search function for both the Primary and Secondary resources at the bottom of each home page.  This could be used to find appropriate scripture for Easter.  For example, a search for the Prodigal Son returns multiple references; this one is targeted for Years 5 and 6, but is appropriate across the whole school

The Gospels of Lent are available here.  Whilst they are geared towards senior primary students, it is still helpful to know the relevant Gospels:

For Easter Sunday, this resource following provides food for thought. It is geared towards secondary students but typing “Easter” into the search function of the Primary version provides a rich array of wonderful resources.

Within your homes, you may like to create a prayer focus or ‘sacred space’. This link provides ideas.

There are also opportunities to engage with Holy Week masses, liturgies and the Easter Triduum on Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday through live television and streaming services.

Untitled Document
Palm Sunday (5 April)
10.00 am Palm Sunday Mass St Francis Xavier Cathedral, Adelaide Website | Facebook | YouTube
Monday of Holy Week (6 April)
10.00 am Mass of the Day Chapel of St Albert the Great, Blackfriars Facebook
Tuesday of Holy Week (7 April)
10.00 am Mass of the Day Chapel of St Albert the Great, Blackfriars Facebook
Wednesday of Holy Week (8 April)
10.00 am Mass of the Day Chapel of St Albert the Great, Blackfriars Facebook
Maundy Thursday (9 April)
6.30 pm Mass of the Lord’s Supper St Francis Xavier Cathedral, Adelaide Website | Facebook | YouTube | TV (Channel 44)
Good Friday (10 April)
3.00 pm Passion of the Lord St Francis Xavier Cathedral, Adelaide Website | Facebook | YouTube | TV (Channel 44)
3.00 pm Passion of the Lord St Mary’s Cathedral, Sydney TV (Channel 7)
Holy Saturday (11 April)
6.00 pm Easter Vigil St Francis Xavier Cathedral, Adelaide Website | Facebook | YouTube | TV (Channel 44)
Easter Sunday (12 April)
9.00 am Easter Sunday Mass St Francis Xavier Cathedral, Adelaide Website | Facebook | YouTube | TV (Channel 44)
10.00 am Easter Sunday Mass Chapel of St Albert the Great, Blackfriars Facebook
10.30 am Easter Sunday Mass St Mary’s Cathedral, Sydney TV (Channel 7)

An international movement that has gained coverage this week is to place a palm or other greenery on the front door of your home to mark Palm Sunday and the start of Holy Week. It gives encouragement and the powerful message that the Church remains open.

In a similar way, for Good Friday, placing a Cross or Crucifix at a window or your front door for people to see also marks the most reverent and holy of days.  The photo here presents an idea, but the display could be either with or without the red fabric. It is worth emphasising that the Cross is central to Christianity – without it, there is no Resurrection, and no Christianity.  At the end of this document, the thoughts of St Andrew of Crete are shared with you as a prayer.

Finally, I wish you a sacred and spiritual Holy Week and joyful Easter in the Risen Lord. God bless.

Matthew Crisanti
Assistant Principal: Religious Identity and Mission


Some thoughts from St Andrew of Crete:

We are celebrating the feast of the cross, whereby darkness was dispelled, and light restored; wherein the crucified was raised up, leaving behind the earth and sin so that we may possess what is above.

If there had been no cross, Christ would not have been crucified. If there had been no cross, Life would not have been nailed to a cross.

If Christ had not been nailed to the cross, the streams of everlasting life would not have flowed from his hands, feet and side. Our sins would not have been washed away, we would not have obtained freedom, we would not have enjoyed the tree of life, paradise would not have been opened. If there had been no cross, death would not have been trodden underfoot, the underworld would not have given up its spoils.

How great is the cross! Through which we have received a multitude of blessings because the miracles and sufferings of Christ have been victorious. The cross is the sign of the victory of Life over Death. And we are the recipients of this great victory. The cross has become the common salvation of the whole world.

The cross is called the glory of Christ, and his exultation; it is the chalice for which he longed, the consummation of his sufferings on our behalf.

“When I am lifted up, I will draw all people to myself.’
“Glorify me, Father, with the glory I had with you before the world was made.”
“Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him.”
In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. AMEN.


Stations of the Cross

Blackfriars Chaplain, Fr William Loh OP, brings us Stations of the Cross during Holy Week 2020 from Our Lady of the Rosary Church, Prospect.