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Welcome to Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Bellingham, WA.
Sacred Heart Parish is a Spirit-filled community of persons who follow the teachings of Jesus Christ through the tradition of the Roman Catholic Church.
As Parishioners of Sacred Heart we witness the presence of God in our community as a family, bound together by the Word and Eucharist. We journey together through worship, education, service, social activities and stewardship. We use our gifts and talents to reach out to others.
Holy Week Services
Regular Mass Schedule
Brothers and Sisters, today we stand at the threshold of Holy Week. The Church, in her wisdom has seen fit to establish set liturgies for the next two weeks, Holy Week and the Easter octave; you may remember last year the Solemnity of the Annunciation had to be postponed until the Monday following the conclusion of the octave. On our part, we here at Sacred Heart will be offering an increase of liturgical celebrations to honor the holy days. Check the bulletin for specific info. Mass and confessions are offered every day.
The climax of the week begins on Thursday with the start of the Triduum (pronounced trid- oo [as in boo] -um, making sure the middle u is pronounced ). The Triduum is a singular liturgy, meaning that the sign of the cross is made at the beginning, and no formal dismissal is issued until the conclusion of Mass on Easter (some of you may be asking why do we care, but for us liturgical junkies that’s a big deal, so let us have our moment). This liturgy is what we wait all year for, as in it is most fully expressed the central realities of our faith, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ
Holy Thursday liturgy includes the solemn presentation of the holy oils, blessed by the Archbishop at the Chrism Mass last Thursday. These oils must be renewed each year and the oils from the previous year disposed of in a dignified manner by either burning or burying; here at Sacred Heart we add them to the Easter fire at the Easter Vigil. Each oil is given for a specific purpose, one for healing and strength, another for dignifying the entrance of one into the body of Christ at baptism, and the third for consecrating, is used in Confirmation, priestly and episcopal ordinations and the consecrations of religious articles like churches and altars.
Holy Thursday is centered in the institution of the Eucharist and of the Priesthood, and is grounded in humility. This humility is most appropriately witnessed when, after the homily, 12 members of the church will come forward to have their feet washed, symbolic of the 12 disciples who had their feet washed at the first Holy Thursday. The liturgy of the Eucharist is celebrated with special prayers and petitions particular for the day and the liturgy concludes for the evening, with the transfer of the Blessed Sacrament to our side chapel. It is quite a sight to see and definitely worth doing if you have never been before.
Good Friday celebrations commence at 3:00 p.m. Since the Triduum is a single liturgy there is no sign of the cross to begin. The priest comes from the back and in a act of humility prostrates himself before the bare altar, which denotes the death of Christ. No sacraments, except penance and anointing at the hour of death take place. There is first a Liturgy of the Word, then the Solemn Intercessions, the Veneration of the Holy Cross and we conclude with Reception of Communion consecrated on the previous evening, as Mass does not take place today.
The Easter Vigil, celebrated on Saturday evening is grandest of all liturgies, full of sights, sounds and smells. We bless the Easter candle for the coming year, have seven readings from the story of salvation and all of the New Catholics get baptized and confirmed. It starts off with a roaring bonfire and goes on into the wee hours of the morning; definitely something not to be missed. This liturgy originally went until the sun began to rise in hopes that Christ might come again with the sun.
Fr. Joseph Altenhofen