Good Friday at St. Mary Cathedral of the Immacuate Conception in Portland. (Ruby Becker/Archdiocese of Portland)
Good Friday at St. Mary Cathedral of the Immacuate Conception in Portland. (Ruby Becker/Archdiocese of Portland)
" Remember, Jesus has this.
" Fr. John Marshall at the Easter Vigil, St. John the Baptist Parish in Milwaukie

Holy Week in western Oregon included the washing of feet, memories of the first Eucharist, bereavement at the death of Jesus, and joy in nighttime vigils, illuminated with joy and candles. Hundreds became Catholic on the night. On Easter morning, brightness and joy erupted as children attended Mass then hunted for eggs and treats.

(SEE PHOTO GALLERY. Scenes from St. Mary Cathedral, St. John the Baptist in Milwaukie, St. Henry in Gresham, Sacred Heart in Medford, Shepherd of the Valley in Central Point, Our Lady of Fatima in Shady Cove, St. Helen in Sweet Home, St. Anthony in Portland)

Holy Week is a story that moves from fear to grief to joy.

At St. Mary in Eugene Father Ronald Nelson spoke to his flock in both Spanish and English on Holy Thursday, the Mass of the Last Supper.

Father Nelson told the people how, at the Chrism Mass at St. Mary Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland, Archbishop Alexander Sample blessed the oil of the sick, the oil of the catechumens, and the sacred chrism oil.

“And now, here at the beginning of this liturgy, we welcomed or accepted those oils that were blessed by the archbishop into our own parish, signifying a sense of unity in this church in western Oregon,” Father Nelson said.

On Good Friday at St. Joseph Parish in Salem, Msgr. Richard Huneger, pastor, discussed with his parishioners the confusion of calling the day of Jesus’ death “good,” saying that in Germany the day is called Karfreitag, which can be translated as “Grieving Friday.”

Father Huneger said both names are true, for the word “good” can express gratitude for God’s goodness, which came about on Good Friday.

On Good Friday at Holy Trinity Parish in Beaverton, Father Tony Galati admitted the service was one he had been tempted to skip in the past because it can seem depressing. And yet, he noted, we don’t have to pretend that we don’t know that Jesus rose from the dead. “We celebrate the victory Jesus won for us through his Passion and death on the cross over sin and death.”

Good Friday services end in silence. At St. Anthony Parish in Southeast Portland, departing worshippers place flowers on a crucifix that has been gently laid before the altar.

“Everyone participates in the flower placing custom,” said Father Pat Donoghue, pastor of St. Anthony. “Even the ones with mobility issues have a basket of flowers brought to them so they can choose a flower. Then someone else will place the flower.”

The parish uses camellias, rhododendrons and cherry blossoms, local flowers with a reddish hue, appropriate for Good Friday.

The Easter Vigil readings cover creation, the parting of the Red Sea and other wonders of the story of salvation.

“God is saying, ‘You think that is incredible? Wait until you see what happens to you tonight,’” Father John Marshall told those about to become Catholic at St. John the Baptist Parish in Milwaukie April 16. “Christ is going to come alive in all of you.”

The priest said the parish is more than honored that the new Catholics said yes.

“The world needs more than ever the evangelization of the Resurrection,” Father Marshall said, urging listeners against pessimism in face of world news. “Remember, Jesus has this. We need to keep our eyes fixed on that light which is Christ. Let the risen Christ ignite that light again in your heart so you can be a light for others.”

— Kristen Hannum, Ed Langlois