Holy Week - 2023

Holy Week is an eight-day period that takes us from Jesus' triumphant arrival Jerusalem to his crucifixion and resurrection.

Palm Sunday

The week begins with Palm Sunday, which commemorates Jesus' entrance into the holy city of Jerusalem. He is greeted by the shouts of the crowd: "Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" By the end of that same week, the crowds will be shouting, "Crucify him!"

Chrism Mass and the Mass of the Holy Oils

In the Diocese of Portland, the Chrism Mass is celebrated on the Tuesday of Holy Week. During the Mass, the oils that will be used in the sacraments during the coming year are blessed by the bishop and distributed to parishes. The Mass also brings together clergy from around the diocese, who renew their priestly promises.

Because of the size of the Diocese of Portland, the bishop travels to northern Maine on the Wednesday of Holy Week to celebrate the Mass of the Holy Oils. During the Mass, the oils blessed at the Chrism Mass are presented and distributed to parishes, and the priests of northern Maine renew their promises.

The Sacred Triduum

The summit of the liturgical year is the Easter Triduum, which begins on the evening of Holy Thursday and concludes on the evening of Easter Sunday. Though chronologically three days, they are liturgically one day unfolding for us the unity of Christ's Paschal Mystery. 

The "three days" are the most holy of the liturgical year because they commemorate the Institution of the Lord's Supper (Eucharist and priesthood) in the Upper Room, with its mandatum/command to "wash the feet" of others in imitation of Jesus Christ; the Passion of the Lord, who suffered and died on the cross on Calvary for the sake of our salvation;  Holy Saturday, when we "vigil" in anticipation of the Easter joy that comes to the world through the resurrection of Christ from the dead; and Easter, a day of celebration. The tomb is empty. The Lord has risen! Alleluia!

Holy Week Masses & Good Friday Services

Palm Sunday Masses

Chrism Mass (Portland)

Mass of the Holy Oils (Houlton)

Holy Thursday Masses

Good Friday Services

Holy Saturday Prayer & Reconciliation

Easter Vigil Masses

Easter Sunday Masses

Holy Week Events and Prayer Opportunities

Palm Sunday

Living Stations of the Cross at 7 p.m. at St. Athanasius & St. John Church, Rumford

Palm Sunday Holy Hour at 4 p.m. at St. Raphael Church, Kittery

Palm Sunday Potluck Lunch and Easter Egg Hunt at Holy Trinity Church, Lisbon Falls

Palm Sunday Procession at 2 p.m. in Calais

Palm Weaving on Palm Sunday at 1 p.m. at St. Hyacinth Church, Westbrook

RCIA Lenten Afternoon of Reflection at 2 p.m. (Virtual)

Monday of Holy Week

Tenebrae Service at the Basilica of Ss. Peter & Paul, Lewiston

Tenebrae Service at St. Mary of the Assumption Church, Augusta

Tenebrae Service at St. Catherine of Sienna Church, Norway

Tenebrae Service at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, Windham

Good Friday

Good Friday Blessing of the Water at Siphusis Brook, Peter Dana Point

Living Stations of the Cross at Church of the Holy Cross, South Portland

Living Stations of the Cross at Saint Dominic Academy, Auburn

Living Stations of the Cross at St. John Church, Bangor

Living Stations of the Cross at St. Joseph Church, Portland

Living Stations of the Cross at St. Mary of the Assumption Church, Augusta

Living Stations of the Cross at Holy Family Church, Sanford

Good Friday Collection for the Church in the Holy Land

Holy Saturday

Blessing of Easter Baskets, St. Louis Church, Portland

Easter Egg Hunt, St. Bartholomew Church, Cape Elizabeth


Easter Triduum (USCCB / External link)

Easter Triduum Schedules for EWTN, CatholicTV, and Relevant Radio

Easter (USCCB / External Link)

Holy Thursday - Gospel Readings (External Link)

Good Friday - Gospel Readings (External Link)

Easter Vigil Gospel Readings (External Link)

Easter Day Gospel Readings (External Link)