Holy Week Moments: Simplifying Big Concepts into Everyday Actions
March 19, 2024 • Diocese of St. Augustine

By Msgr. Vincent Haut

Three moments in Holy Week trigger rich thoughts – and big words! What are shorter words for these big moments?


On Holy Thursday the priest washes the feet of twelve parishioners, and we are asked to think of the word “Service.” The message of Jesus is that we must be people who serve our neighbors.

I like another, shorter word: “Help.” We do what Jesus asks of us when we help each other.

When you watch the priest washing feet this Easter season, think about the ways you help your neighbors. If you don’t help your neighbors, maybe you can make plans to be more helpful. 


On Good Friday we make a procession to venerate the Cross. Watching this part of the liturgy we see that all of us have a cross to carry. There is a solidarity with this part of the liturgy that moves me deeply. 

Rich or poor, young or old, Snowbirds or Florida Crackers, we all are in the same situation: we face troubles, suffering and eventually death. We can condense the word “solidarity” into something simple: all-ness. We are all in this human life together. All humanity faces the cross.


The Easter Vigil has a third rich moment reminding me of a very big word. The deacon holds the Easter candle high in the church and all present receive a flame taken from the Christ candle. The church is quickly filled with light. The light is spread because everyone does their part in spreading it. That’s when I think of synodality!

Synodality is a big word to describe the fact that every Catholic has a voice in the life of the church and a duty to take part in its work of spreading the Gospel. We are all on the same journey together.

I like to condense that big word down to a very simple English word: We. We are together in the church and each of us is important for its future. We have a voice in the life of the church because each of us belongs to it.

We belong to the church like we belong to our family. Each member can use the word “we” when he or she talks about where they live, what they do and where they are going. When I hear “synodality,” I think of “we-ness.” It’s a short word but very rich.

This Holy Week I hope you will participate as much as you can in its special liturgies.


Go to the Mass on Holy Thursday and watch carefully as the priest bends down like Jesus did to wash feet. It doesn’t matter whose feet he washes. The point to appreciate is that Christians are called to help other people in whatever way they can.

You may be living a life of service by parenting children or building new homes or by supporting Catholic Charities. Holy Thursday shows us that helping others is an essential part of following the example of Jesus.


On Good Friday, fast, abstain from meat and go to the Good Friday observance in your parish church. Keep your eyes focused on all those people coming forward to honor the cross. They are accepting their own cross as they bow before it or kiss it or just touch it.

All of us have a cross to accept. This is our solidarity, our all-ness. We are all in this life together and we are all called to make our way to heavenly glory. Because we all have the same calling, we can help each other along the way.


The Easter Vigil is long and late but going to celebrate it will give you a wonderful experience. When you see the dark church suddenly full of light you will taste the joy of synodality. You will know that you are part of a very big family.

Each person at the Easter Vigil has a candle of their own to offer to the whole church. As we offer our unique light, the church gets brighter – we shine in the dark.

We talk about the church in a new way. No longer do we talk about what “they” do at church. We are the church. We don’t go to a parish; we are the parish. The church isn’t “it” but “we.”


There is one more big word I’d like to mention. It, too, has a shorter, more familiar partner. We hear a lot these days about “evangelization.”

It’s a big word for what we do when we sing “Alleluia” at Easter. We spread Good News.

People who have learned the lesson of Easter know they are called to serve their neighbors and share the message of Christ. They sing the Easter song in the world and so they spread the Gospel. That’s what “evangelization” means.

So, this Holy Week, let’s rediscover the reason we are evangelizers, the reason we sing “Alleluia” wherever we go. We are all helpers on a wonderful journey. We go singing.

Msgr. Vincent Haut is a senior priest of the Diocese of St. Augustine living in Jacksonville.

Sunday, March 24, 2024Palm Sunday  
Sunday, March 24, 2024Blessing of the PalmsCathedral Basilica of St. Augustine, 38 Cathedral Place, St. Augustine, FL 320849:00 a.m.
Sunday, March 24, 2024Blessing of the FleetSt. Augustine Municipal Marina, 111 Avenida Menendez, St. Augustine, Florida 3208411:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Wednesday, March 27, 2024Chrism MassCathedral Basilica of St. Augustine, 38 Cathedral Place, St. Augustine, FL 32084
Thursday, March 28, 2024Holy Thursday – Washing of the Feet Visit your Local Parish 
Friday, March 29, 2024Good Friday Visit your Local Parish 
Friday, March 29, 2024Seven Last Words of Jesus ChristMary, Queen of Heaven, 9401 Staples Mill Drive, Jacksonville, FL 322443:00 p.m.
Friday, March 29, 2024Stations of the Cross at the Great CrossNational Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche at Mission Nombre de Dios, 27 Ocean Avenue, St. Augustine, FL 320843:15 p.m.
Friday, March 29, 2024Comunita Cenacolo Living Stations of the Cross National Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche at Mission Nombre de Dios, 27 Ocean Avenue, St. Augustine, FL 320847:30 p.m.
Friday, March 29, 2024View the Passion of the Christ on the Big ScreenEpic Theaters of St. Augustine, 112 Theatre Dr., St. Augustine, FL 320863:30 p.m.
Saturday, March 30, 2024Seven Sorrows Walk at the Sacred AcreNational Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche at Mission Nombre de Dios, 27 Ocean Avenue, St. Augustine, FL 32084Noon
Easter Vigil MassVisit your Local Parish
Sunday, March 31, 2024Easter Visit your Local Parish 
Sunday, March 31, 2024Bishop Mass at the Rustic AltarNational Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche at Mission Nombre de Dios, 27 Ocean Avenue, St. Augustine, FL 320849:00 a.m.