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Holy Week Services

Left Apsis: Jesus entering Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. Fresco in the Parish Church of Zirl, Austria

HOLY WEEK marks the events of Christ’s life beginning with his joyous triumphal entry into Jerusalem, and ending with the somberness of crucifixion and death. It is a week in which we as the Church dramatize the events which led up to and include the suffering and death of Jesus on the Cross. The theme of Holy Week is one of passion, of ultimate love and caring.

THE SUNDAY OF PASSION – PALM SUNDAY, April 5 – 8 &10 a.m. The tension between suffering and glorious triumph is set immediately before us on Palm Sunday, when joyful hosannas ring out even as the sense of foreboding grows. Jesus enters Jerusalem proclaimed as a king, riding toward a destiny of suffering and death amidst the shouts of those who soon will turn against him. We begin with “All glory, laud and honor,” the hymn traditionally associated with the procession, then move to a dramatic reading of The Passion Narrative.

TENEBRAE, WEDNESDAY, April 8 – 7:30 p.m Tenebrae comes from the Latin word for “darkness” or “shadows” and has for centuries been applied to the service of evening prayer observed during the last three days of Holy Week. The most conspicuous feature of the service is the gradual extinguishing of candles and other lights in the church, until only a single candle, considered as a symbol of our Lord, remains lit. Before each candle is extinguished there are readings from the Psalms and Biblical lessons. The service concludes with prayers and silence.

MAUNDY THURSDAY, April 9 – 7:30 p.m. We get the word Maundy from the Latin “mandate” to command. This service recalls two events in the life of Jesus. First, we recall the Last Supper when Jesus broke bread with the disciples in the Upper Room and said, “Do this for the remembrance of me.” In the Eucharist we have the promise of Christ’s presence with us. Secondly, we recall that Jesus washed the disciples’ feet and commanded them to follow his example of love and humble service. In the foot washing we have the model of ministry of servanthood. At the conclusion of this memorable service we have the stripping of the altar.

GOOD FRIDAY, April 10 THE WAY OF THE CROSS – 12:00 noon The devotion known as the Way of the Cross is an adaptation to local usage of a custom widely observed by the pilgrims to Jerusalem. In Jerusalem, the pilgrims offer a prayer at a series of places traditionally associated with our Lord’s passion and death. At Saint Mary’s, the children of the parish will assist us in this service which includes walking throughout the parish grounds, observing moments of Biblical reflection and contemplative prayer. The service begins and ends in the church.

GOOD FRIDAY LITURGY, April 10 – 7:30 p.m. A solemn service beginning with a reading from the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John and followed by a service of evening prayer using the Solemn Collects which date from the third century. In these prayers is a bidding to the congregation for silent prayer concluding with a collect. The service ends with Anthems said before the Cross and the Lord’s Prayer.

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