Reservation parishes hold Holy Week triduum services

posted on April 11, 2012

by Shannon Grooms

Holy Thursday was celebrated last week at the various Catholic churches around the Pine Ridge Reservation, including Our Lady of the Sioux in Oglala. The Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord's Supper commemorates three things: the institution of the Eucharist, the institution of the priesthood, and Jesus’ command to love one another as he loved us.

Our Lady of the Sioux started their Mass at 8 p.m. The traditional Mass of the Lord’s Supper included a washing of the feet ceremony, as well as a presentation of the sacred oils that will be used throughout the upcoming year: the oil of the sick, the oil of catechumens, and the sacred chrism. These oils are blessed by the bishop at the Chrism Mass, distributed to the parishes of the diocese, and then presented in the individual churches during the Holy Thursday Mass. The oil of the sick is used during the sacrament of Anointing of the Sick. The oil of the catechumens is used to anoint infants at their baptism and to anoint catechumens preparing for the sacraments. The sacred chrism is used during infant Baptisms, Confirmation and Holy Orders.

The washing of the feet ceremony has a long history and deep meaning behind it. In biblical times, people wore sandals and traveled on dusty roads, and when someone came to your home they were offered water to wash the feet. At the Last Supper, Jesus chose to wash his disciples’ feet which was an act of humble service that not even a Jewish slave could be asked to do. The Holy Thursday foot-washing ceremony is a ritual reenactment of this humble service after which Jesus told his followers, “I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do.”

The following day, Good Friday was celebrated with Stations of the Cross and the Celebration of the Lord’s Passion. In Oglala, SD there was also the annual Good Friday tradition of a Four-Denomination (4D) prayer walk.

The 4D walk brings together people from four faith communities – Catholic, Episcopal, Lutheran, and Presbyterian – to walk the 1.5 miles from Loneman School to Our Lady of the Sioux Catholic Church. During the walk, marchers stop at various points for readings and reflections.

The group was originally started during World War II for the different faith groups to come together and pray in unison. It has continued on through the years with a monthly meeting on the second Wednesday of every month, alternating between the churches. The meetings consist of a meal, prayer, song, and petitions.

If you are interested in learning more about the fellowship of the 4D, contact Mr. George Looks Twice at 605-867-5673.

If you are interested in learning more about any of the Catholic churches on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, contact Fr. Steve Sanford and 605-867-5491 ext 604.