Fr Justin’s Holy Week Services

Posted on Apr 4, 2019

Wednesday, April 17th:
Chanting and Walking Meditation ~ 5-5:30 pm

During Lent this year we have been praying using simple and repetitive chant. We have focused on a chant from Revelation 22:13 “I am Alpha and Omega / The original and the latest / The source and the end”. We have been using a Latin translation to highlight the sounds and the interior dynamics of the chant as we circumambulate the sanctuary while the vesper light pours through our stained glass windows.

Contemplative Prayer and Teaching ~ 5:30-7 pm

Contemplative Prayer and Teaching on Wednesday of Holy Week offers some simple instruction in how to practice centering prayer; how to surrender our very being to GOD in prayer. This practice helps us enter into the life of the Spirit communicated and embodied in the ritual and ceremony of the ancient Liturgies of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and the Easter Vigil, as well as in the ground of the heart.

Maundy Thursday, April 18th:
Eucharist 10am

The Eucharist at 10am commemorates Jesus’ institution of the sacrament of the Eucharist, also called the Mass, and the Lord’s Supper. In this sacrament we celebrate the Church’s sacrifice of prayer and thanksgiving, whereby the sacrifice of Christ is made present and he unites us to his one offering of himself. The sermon at this liturgy will be a teaching on the Eucharist itself.

The Ancient Maundy Thursday Liturgy ~ 6 pm

The Maundy Thursday at 6pm is the ancient Liturgy of the Church, commemorating the institution of the Eucharist in the Last Supper with the mandate to “Love one another as I have loved you.” This mandate on Divine Love is expressed by Jesus in washing of the feet of his disciples and we follow this action by washing one another’s feet after we have celebrated the Holy Eucharist.

It is on this day the Church is stripped bare and the altar is scrubbed. There is no dismissal to this liturgy but a transition into the all night vigil, commemorating the agony of Jesus in the Garden as he prayed and asked his disciples to “watch and pray” with him.

We typically sign up for an hour commemorating three of Jesus’ disciples who were invited to join him in these hour long periods of prayer. Jesus struggled in prayer, preparing for his journey of the cross and death that would occur on the following day.

Our watch continues until just before 12 noon on Good Friday when we begin the liturgy of the 3 hours. We translate the Sacrament of Christ’s body from the monstrance (a vessel from which we can see the consecrated Eucharistic host/bread during the vigil) and reserve it in the sanctuary tabernacle for communion at the Good Friday Liturgy later that night.

Good Friday, April 19th:

The Three Hours ending with Stations of the Cross ~ 12-3pm

The Three Hours is a contemplative service commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus during the time he hung on the cross and the sky was black. Silent prayer periods of 20 minutes interspersed with readings from The Mystery of Christ by Fr. Thomas Keating O.C.S.O. make up the rhythm of the first portion of this liturgy. We pray the meditation chant Kyrie (“Lord, have mercy”) 33 times and continue with the walking meditation known as “the Stations of the Cross”. In our walking meditation we stop in front of 14 depictions of Christ; from his condemnation to death, to his corpse being laid in the tomb. At each station we hear the scripture according to the scene and pray together.

The Good Friday Liturgy ~ 6 pm

The Solemn Good Friday Liturgy is an ancient prayer; we hear the Passion from John’s Gospel in which the Church recounts the events of Jesus’ betrayal, arrest and torture, his final moments and death on the cross, and his subsequent burial in the tomb. We pray the Solemn Collects; a series of biddings and prayers for the whole world, used specifically at the commemoration of the death of Christ. We are invited into veneration of the Cross; an instrument of humiliation and death that was turned into the way of peace and life. This liturgy ends with the communion from the Reserved Sacrament, consecrated the day before at the Maundy Thursday Eucharist.

There is never a Eucharist celebrated on Good Friday. Traditionally it has been held that, through the Solemn Liturgy of Good Friday, we more perfectly participate in the sacred mystery of Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross. The day itself in the liturgical and lunar calendar is key in the special grace of Good Friday and spiritual life of the Church.

Holy Saturday, April 20th:

On Holy Saturday we commemorate the day Christ’s body rested in the tomb. The Apostle’s Creed notes that Jesus “was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended to the dead.” We pray to God who was a dead body and entered into the realm of the dead. Christ among the dead manifests the love of God beyond any boundaries of human existence. The Church too will rest from its liturgical celebrations.
Easter Sunday, April 21st:

EASTER VIGIL ~ 5:30 am to 7am

The Great Vigil of Easter is the ancient celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. This Liturgy begins in the darkness of night with the lighting of the Paschal Candle which will burn throughout the 50 days of Easter and burns at each baptism and funeral throughout the year symbolizing the light that is Jesus Christ.

All the other candles are lighted from the Paschal Candle and we continue by candle light alone. We hear the ancient hymn the Exsultet and the readings called the Prophecies from the Hebrew Scriptures that prefigure the resurrection of Christ Jesus. Between each Prophecy we sit silently in prayer and meditation. Silent prayer is the hallmark of our observance of this ancient liturgy.

We renew our Baptismal vows are blessed with Holy Water before we continue with hearing the Greek Scriptures and the proclamation of the Easter Gospel with the return of Alleluias. We celebrate the first Holy Eucharist of Easter and share in the Grace that God bestowed on Christ in his resurrection.

Easter Sunday Eucharist ~ 8 am

The Easter Sunday Eucharist is a festive Liturgy of the Resurrection. At 8am we celebrate with Rite One (traditional language), hymns and chant, with the renewal of our Baptismal vows and the offering of incense. In this Easter celebration we hear the Alleluias once again and receive Holy Communion, sharing in the Grace that God bestowed on Christ in his resurrection.

Easter Sunday Eucharist ~ 10 am

The Easter Sunday Eucharist is festive Liturgy of the Resurrection. At 10am we celebrate with Rite Two (contemporary language) singing hymns and chant, with Baptisms, renewal of our Baptismal vows and the offering of incense. In this Easter celebration we hear the Alleluias again and receive Holy Communion, sharing in that uncreated Grace God bestowed on Christ in his resurrection.

~ Peace, Fr. Justin