Getting Ready for Holy Week

Palm Sunday is tomorrow? Lent is almost over? Where has the time gone!

If that’s how you’re feeling, you are not alone. Msgr. James Shea, President of the University of Mary in Bismarck, North Dakota told Morning Air® host John Harper that when it comes to Lent, “I always feel like when I come to the end that I could use a couple of extra weeks.”

He continued by saying, “But, of course, we’re coming into the most holy week of the year, a time of unspeakable grace in which we enter very deeply into the Passion and suffering and the redemption of Jesus Christ. So there’s an anticipation and a joy that comes with that, too.”

Msgr. Shea spoke on Morning Air about the beauty of Holy Week and how we can make the most of it this year.

“Holy Week gives us an opportunity to intensify that Lenten pilgrimage,” he said. “The final week of Lent, those final days before Easter provide us with a beautiful opportunity to enter into the mysteries of faith in a rhythm, a pattern, which is very beautifully crafted for the human heart and the Christian mind.”

“Of course, we begin with Palm Sunday and we move through the week toward Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and then Easter Sunday. That becomes a time in which we should very intentionally and thoughtfully set aside time for participation in the liturgy and for quiet prayer. I think a lot of people have a memory of how much Holy Week can mean in one’s spiritual life. How it sort of rescues Lent no matter what happens to us.”

And why does Holy Week stand out in our memories so much? Msgr. Shea pointed out that it is during Holy Week that the “liturgical richness of the Catholic faith comes out like never before. Those days of Holy Week are shot through with meaning.”

Walking through the individual days of the Triduum, Msgr. Shea shared how particular aspects of the liturgy stand out in his memory, and have drawn him deeper into the Paschal Mystery.

“After Holy Thursday is the adoration deep into the night,” he recalled. “I remember my mom taking me in there late at night. She would kneel and I would lie next to her on the pew and marvel at her faith and at the lateness and quiet of the church and glow of the candles. It swept me up into a world of mystery.”

Sharing what stands out to him on Good Friday, Msgr. Shea shared that it is “The starkness of it, the sadness of it, the way that one can enter into the sufferings of Jesus. That participation in the weight of sin in the world and the heavy need for redemption and forgiveness.”

“And the quietest day of the year is Holy Saturday, the day on which nothing happens because the King is sleeping. And of course, the joy of Easter Sunday and jelly beans and eggs and the deep faith in the Resurrection of Jesus.”

To help you make the most of Holy Week this year, Relevant Radio® is offering special programming and invites you to tune-in!

Stephanie Foley serves as a Digital Media Producer at Relevant Radio®. She is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, where she studied journalism, and she has worked in Catholic radio for 12 years. Stephanie is a wife, a mother of three boys, and in her free time she enjoys reading, running, and really good coffee. You can find more of Stephanie’s writing at and on the free Relevant Radio mobile app.