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Tenebrae Service Celebrates Lent

Celebrate Holy Week with Tenebrae Service The University of St. Thomas’ Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist will celebrate the 14th annual Tenebrae Service, an ancient Lenten prayer celebrated during the Easter Triduum of Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday. The Tenebrae Service will be held in the Chapel of St. Basil at 6:30 a.m.

Tenebrae, which means darkness, combines the psalms and readings of Matins and Lauds. The prayer begins in a darkened church, illuminated only by the 15-candle candelabra on the altar. After each psalm is read, a candle is extinguished until a single candle, symbolizing Christ, remains on the altar. The prayer service ends at dawn and all leave in silence.

Christine Nguyen, a junior Psychology major, said the Tenebrae prayer is a peaceful service.

“To me, it is a time to reflect and meditate during these last days of Holy Week,” Nguyen said. “It’s a very beautiful service.”

The Franciscan Sisters have celebrated Tenebrae for many years, but only recently opened the prayer service to the public.

“We used to invite friends to our small convent chapel,” said Sister Mary Roberta Connors, FSE. “Interest grew to the point that about seven years ago, we moved it to the Chapel of St. Basil.”

The Tenebrae prayer service is open to the public. For more information on the prayer service, contact Sr. Mary Roberta at

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