Monday, March 16, 2015

Holy Week at St. Mary’s Church

The most solemn time of the Church Year is Holy Week, the octave (eight day period) from Passion Sunday through Easter. What follows is a description of what we will be offering during the week. You are invited to join in at any time, as you are able.

Passion Sunday (Palm Sunday) — The observance of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem to the acclaim of the crowds, and the reading of the Passion Gospel from Mark. This is an especially important day for children and their participation in our worship. During fellowship time we will be offering instruction on the making of traditional palm crosses.

Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of Holy Week — These days are often overlooked, but each has its own them, its own story to tell. We will mark the days with simple worship and special music offered by both guests and parishioners.

Maundy Thursday — This is a very special day all its own. Tonight we will remember the Last Supper, at which Jesus washed the feet of his friends and instituted the sacred meal we call the Holy Communion. The service concludes with the solemn Stripping of the Sanctuary, during which all of the moveable decorations and articles of our worship are removed from the church in preparation for the sparseness of Good Friday. It is traditional to remove the Reserve Sacrament from the church and place it on an Altar of Repose, at which people may sit in meditation and contemplation.

Good Friday — The services of Good Friday are mostly identical, and scheduled to provide as much accessibility as possible for those who want to worship on this day. The service features the reading of the Passion Gospel according to St. John, a litany of special prayers for the world, and special music. The church will remain open all day and through the evening for those who would like to find a place of sanctuary and quiet.

Holy Saturday — The stillness of Jesus’ tomb is witnessed by the stark and brief service of readings and prayers. As is traditional there is no music, only stillness and introspection. (At St. Mary’s we have asked the Worship Ministers to gather for the service and then assist in setting up the church for Easter.)

Easter — Easter is all the more glorious when one has experienced the depths of the movements and events of Holy Week. St. Mary's Church will celebrate the day in glorious style with joyful hymns and glorious music.

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