A Guide to Holy Week at St. Agnes Academy

St. Agnes Academy
Learn more about the observances at St. Agnes Academy during Holy Week. We follow the traditions of the Catholic church and host important events for students.
Spring is always a busy and exciting time for high school students. At St. Agnes Academy, April is also a time to celebrate Holy Week and Jesus's triumphant entry into Jerusalem.

Holy Week, commonly remembered as the week leading up to Easter, is one of the most significant times of the year in the Catholic tradition. St. Agnes always prioritizes faith and prayer – and this special week is no exception.

What Is Holy Week?

Holy Week, which takes place during Lent, is one of the most important holiday events Catholics observe. Holy Week begins with Palm Sunday and leads into Easter, and it’s a time for Catholics to celebrate when Jesus entered Jerusalem, died on the cross, and rose from the dead.

Catholic churches and schools encourage worshippers to observe each day of this week, as each event has a specific significance.

Palm Sunday

The week begins with Palm Sunday, which was the day when Jesus Christ entered Jerusalem. Palm branches were scattered before him as he rode into the city, and palm branches are still often used as symbols of devotion. An extended Gospel reading detailing the story of Christ is often the main event of the day.

Holy Wednesday

Holy Wednesday, also sometimes called Good or Spy Wednesday, follows Palm Sunday. This day memorializes the Bargain of Judas. The celebrations of Holy Wednesday are often called Tenebrae, and they consist of readings relating to the Passion of Jesus and a slow extinguishing of the candles on a hearse.

The Easter Triduum

The Easter Triduum takes place next, beginning on Holy Thursday and extending until the following Sunday. It comprises Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday. These three days are a time for prayer, and they mark various events.

- Holy Thursday, also known as Maundy Thursday, commemorates the Last Supper and is usually marked by a special mass. This Thursday mass generally takes place at sundown and is often followed by a procession of the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.

- Good Friday commemorates Jesus’s crucifixion. No mass is celebrated, but the Veneration of the Cross, the Liturgy of the Word, and Communion are observed. Christians should also fast and abstain from eating meat on this date.

- Holy Saturday is the last day of Holy Week and the final day of Lent. The Easter Vigil is celebrated at sundown.

Easter Sunday

Although Easter Sunday is not technically part of Holy Week, it’s often thought of as the end of the week, as the week’s celebrations and remembrances lead into this incredibly important Christian holiday.

Easter marks the day that Jesus Christ rose from the dead. The day is often considered the ultimate symbol of faith. An Easter mass is offered, and it is traditional for families to continue their celebration of faith with a large meal or feast following mass.

How Does St. Agnes Academy Celebrate Holy Week?

St. Agnes Academy celebrates each day of Holy Week with prayer and reflection. A Holy Thursday mass is offered, and there are no classes on either Good Friday or Easter Monday, so students can celebrate and worship with their families.

During this week, students are encouraged to remember their Dominican Heritage and consider the Dominican Pillars, which include preaching, prayer, study, and community.

At St. Agnes, we believe that each pillar is crucial to a well-rounded education and a well-rounded, joyful life, which is why we incorporate each aspect of the Dominican Tradition into our teaching.

Grow Your Faith During Holy Week and Throughout the Year

Prayer is one of the most important aspects of a St. Agnes education, and faith is always entwined with learning at our school. Celebrating Holy Week and commemorating Jesus helps reinforce students’ faith and their reliance on prayer as a strength and comfort.

Reflecting on the events of this week isn’t the only way St. Agnes encourages students to grow in their faith. We follow additional observances throughout the calendar year, as outlined by the Catholic church, and encourage students to embrace their faith on a daily basis.

Connect with our Campus Ministry to learn more about our faith-based learning and how we celebrate Holy Week each year.