Holy Week 2017

Join us as we gather in REMEMBRANCE of Christ’s Last Supper and our call to serve our brothers and sisters. MOURN as we reflect on Christ’s painful death and crucifixion, and as we CELEBRATE the central act of our faith and of our salvation. COME and worship with us during The Holy Week as we celebrate the central mystery of the church year.



Luke 19:38 – “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

Palm Sunday pics

HFMB Christians at a past Palm Sunday event

Mass schedule with some adjustments

07:00 a.m – Swahili Mass
08:15 a.m – English Mass
10:00 a.m – Swahili Mass
11:50 a.m – English Mass
06:00 p.m – English Mass

Palm Sunday is when Christians recall Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. But it is also  known as the Sunday of the Passion, for the joy of the triumphal entry soon dies away as the heartbreak of Jesus’ suffering and death begins to unfold.

Palm Sunday is a Christian moveable feast that falls on the Sunday before Easter; thus marking the beginning of Holy Week, the final week of lent. The worship services on Palm Sunday include a procession of the faithful carrying palms representing the palm branches the crowd scattered in front of Jesus as he rode into Jerusalem. The Symbolism of the donkey may refer to the Eastern tradition that it is an animal of peace, versus the horse, which is the animal of war. A king would have ridden a horse when he was bent on war and ridden a donkey to symbolize his arrival in peace. Jesus’ entry to Jerusalem would have thus symbolized his entry as the Prince of Peace, not as a war-waging King. The feast coincides with that of Passion Sunday, which is the focus of the Mass which follows the service of the blessing of Palms. The vestments for the day are deep scarlet red, the colour of blood, indicating the supreme redemptive sacrifice Christ was entering to fulfill: His Passion and Resurrection in Jerusalem. 

Holy Minor Basilica (HFMB) will observe Palm Sunday with processions, palms, and song before entering into the somberness of the Passion. Each Mass will begin with the Blessing of Palms at the Cross outside the Church, and a procession into the church. Once Christians are in the church, focus changes abruptly from the triumphal entry into Jerusalem to the solemnity of the Passion.



CHRISM MASS at 10.00 am

Exodus 30:25 – “And you shall make of these a sacred anointing oil blended as by the perfumer; it shall be a holy anointing oil.”

On Holy Thursday morning His Eminence John Cardinal John Njue will be joined by the clergy at the Holy Minor Basilica (HFMB) church to celebrate the Chrism Mass. This Mass manifests the unity of the priests with the Cardinal. During this Mass which comes just once a year, the Cardinal blesses the oil of catechumens, the oil of the sick, and the oil of chrism. We use the first for adult catechumens and infants, the second for anointing the sick, and the sacred oil of chrism for baptism, confirmation, the ordination of priests, and the consecration of altars. All three are basically just olive oil but chrism is scented with perfume, traditionally balsam.

As His Eminence John Cardinal Njue blesses these three oils at the chrism Mass this year, our hearts turn to our gracious Lord who bestows his infinite love and mercy to us through these sacraments. Let us also pray for the Cardinal, the bishops and the priests who are the ministers of the sacraments in the Catholic Church, that they may be the humble and generous servants of the Lord.

THE LORD’S SUPPER at 5.00 pm

The Paschal Triduum

1 Corinthians 11:26 – “For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes”

Washing of the Feet Pics

Rev. Fr. Jack washing the feet of 12 chosen men to represent the men in the church during the celebration of the Lord’s Supper, Year 2016

This service marks the official end of the Lenten Season and the beginning of the Triduum. We celebrate the Washing of the Feet, an ancient ritual calling us to be servants to each other.

We will have Benediction for one hour after mass.  Thereafter, the Adoration Chapel will be opened through to mid-night for adoration of the Blessed Sacrament for individuals and solidarity groups. You are invited to remain in the chapel to pray following the liturgy as the disciples did with Jesus.



WAY OF THE CROSS at 8.30 am

Luke 23:46 – “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” 

Way of the Cross Pics

HFMB Christians along Arboretum drive participating in the Way Of the Cross Procession, Year 2016

Traditionally, Holy Family Minor Basilica (HFMB) plan and stage a “Way of the Cross” event on Good Friday, connecting the sufferings of Christ during his passion with the suffering of our brothers and sisters at the hands of violence, greed, poverty, sickness and war.  Good Friday is when the church commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus. It is a day of fasting and special acts of discipline and self-denial. Please join us for this moving and prayerful event on Friday, April 14 starting 8.30 am as we proceed through the Central Business District (CBD) of Nairobi with prayers, meditations and songs. Departure begins from the church compound with His Eminence John Cardinal Njue taking the first station.


Matthew 12:40 – “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth”

Kneeling before the cross pic

Rev. Fr. Simon Kamomoe kneeling before the crucifix during the celebrations of the Lord’s Passion, year 2016

At the opening of this service, we gather in silence as we prepare to meditate on the final walk of Jesus’ life. After the presiding priest venerates the cross, each person is invited to come forward to show his or her own sign of veneration such as kissing the cross, touching the cross reverently, genuflecting or bowing before the cross.

In bowing or kneeling before the crucifix and kissing it we are paying the highest honor to our Lord’s cross as the instrument of our salvation. Because the Cross is inseparable from His sacrifice, in reverencing His Cross we, in effect, adore Christ. Thus we affirm: “we adore Thee, O Christ, and we bless Thee because by Thy Holy Cross Thou has Redeemed the World.” At the close of the service, we leave in silence.



Holy Saturday is an incredibly powerful space and time for reflection. You are invited to spend some time in prayer and reflection, meditating on the story of Jesus’ friends coming to anoint his body as it lay in the tomb.


Genesis 1:3 – Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.

Easter vigil pics

The Blessing of the Easter Candle by Rev. Fr. Simon Nganga at the celebration of the Easter Vigil, Year 2016

During Easter Vigil, we experience the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ—the Passover from death into life. We experience this in four ways during this service: First, in the fire: the Light of Christ coming again into the world; Second, in the stories from the Old Testament: we hear of God’s saving actions in the lives of the people of Israel and the passing of the slaves through the Red Sea; Third, In the lives of those who are to be received into the Catholic Church: We See God’s saving actions in the lives of people today as the new members of our church act on their call from God; and Four, in the Eucharist: during which we take part once again in Christ’s giving of his body and blood once and for all, for all our sins and we receive Jesus in our lives, seeing the saving actions of God in each one of us today.

The evening begins by gathering around a fire to bless the Fire and Bless the Easter Candle. Mass continues and we welcome new members into the Catholic Church. Adults and older children profess their faith and are immersed in the Baptismal font. As witnesses, we also renew our own baptismal vows and profess our faith.



Luke 24: 6 – He is not here; he has risen!

Normal mass schedule,

07:00 a.m – Swahili Mass
08:30 a.m – English Mass
10:00 a.m – Swahili Mass
11:30 a.m – English Mass
06:00 p.m – Engilsh Mass

On this Easter Day we rejoice because the Lord is risen from the dead. But it is much more than that. Not only has Christ conquered death but he has also broken the chains of death that bound us all. We, who are baptized in his name, have the promise of eternal life. While humankind was created in the image by our original sin, by the power of the Resurrection we have been recreated in the likeness of Christ and share His new life. Alleluia!

Everyone is welcome to join Holy Family Minor Basilica in the observance of Holy Week and Easter

By The HFMB Parish Pastoral Council