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Holy Week Services at Christ the Redeemer

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 Christ the Redeemer Anglican Church, 188 Elliott Street, Danvers, MA  See map

Holy Week begins with this opening collect of the Palm Sunday Liturgy. Holy Week is the center of the liturgical year and the richest and most ancient rites and ceremonies of Christian worship are abundantly displayed this week. I can think of no more profound and life changing spiritual experience than to journey with Christ day-by-day through all of these varied services through his passion and death to his glorious rising.

Palm Sunday, April 13

Waving palms we process outside singing hosanna to our Messiah; but in reentering the church we dramatically shift from a festive spirit to the somber spirit of the Passion narrative which we all share in as members of the mob.

  • 6:30 AM — Silent Meditation
  • 7:00 AM — Morning Prayer
  • 8:00 AM — Holy Eucharist, Rite I (with hymns)
  • 9:00 AM — Palm Sunday brunch ( no Christian formation)
  • 10:30 AM — Holy Eucharist, Rite II with organ and choir (children's service, ages 6–12; Christian formation, ages 3–5; nursery to age 3)
Holy Monday, April 14
  • 7:30 PM — Holy Eucharist
Holy Tuesday, April 15
  • 7:30 PM — Holy Eucharist
Holy Wednesday, April 16
  • 6:30 AM — Holy Eucharist
  • 7:15 AM — Confession
  • 7:30 PM — Tenebrae

The gospel on this day focuses on the betrayal of Jesus by Judas. The evening service at 7:30 is called Tenebrae (shadows). A choral recitation of the Psalms of the Passion and the sung wailing of the Lamentations of Jeremiah make this the most haunting of the week’s liturgies. Throughout the service twelve candles are extinguished one by one, representing the eventual abandonment of all the disciples. Finally the Christ candle itself is removed, symbolizing his death and descent into hell. Tenebrae concludes with a dramatic and surprise ending. (Come and find out what it is!)

Maundy Thursday, April 17

Maundy Thursday takes us to the upper room and the last supper. There two commands (hence Maundy from the Latin mandatum) are enacted. The first—A new commandment I give you: Love one another as I have loved you—is manifested in the imitation of our Lord’s humility in a ceremony of foot washing. The second—Do this in remembrance of me—draws us into the institution of the Eucharist. The liturgy concludes poignantly with the stripping of the altar and a prayer vigil at the Altar of Repose until midnight. Remembering our Lord’s plaintive plea to his dozing disciples, Could you not watch one hour? 

  • 4:00 PM — Last Supper Celebration*
  • 7:30 PM — Holy Eucharist with the Washing of Feet, the Procession to the Altar of Repose, and the Stripping of the Altar 
  • 9:30 PM – Midnight — Prayer Vigil at the Altar of Repose (until midnight)

The Liturgy of the Triduum (three days) begins. The Triduum is the grand center of the liturgical year; the rest of the church’s calendar flows into and out of this sacred time. These three days – Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday – unfold the heart of the Gospel: the passion, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. In these sacred events God has wrought for us forgiveness, reconciliation, redemption, salvation, and eternal life. Though we in America think of the one day of Easter as the Queen of Feasts – celebrating the Resurrection – more properly, anciently, and universally the Feast is the Pasch, the Christian Passover, which commemorates the totality of the paschal mystery, suffering, death, and resurrection. 

Good Friday, April 18

We observe the three hours when Jesus hung on the cross.

  • 12:00 Noon — Stations of the Cross
  • 4:00 PM — Children service*
  • 5:00 PM — Confession (clergy will be available for confession, counsel, and healing prayer)
  • 7:30 PM — Solemn Liturgy of Good Friday (includes the reading of the Passion according to St. John, the chanting of the Solemn Collects, the Veneration of the Cross with the singing of the Reproaches, and the Communion of the pre-sanctified elements)
Holy Saturday, April 19
  • 9:00 AM — Holy Saturday Office (the office for this day remembers our Lord’s body resting in the tomb and his soul descending to the dead to preach to Gospel to the dead (see the day’s epistle: 1 Peter 4:1-8) and begin what the ancient church called “the Harrowing of Hell”)
  • 4:00 PM — Liturgy of Light* (this candlelit service is an adaptation of the Easter Vigil liturgy used in the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. We celebrate Jesus’ resurrection; the victory of light over darkness)
  • 7:30 PM — Great Vigil of Easter (with incense) (BRING BELLS!) This is the most ancient and elaborate of all Christian liturgies. In biblical time a day begins at sunset and so on Saturday at 7:30 PM we begin the celebration of the Day of Resurrection. In the darkness of the sanctuary we ignite the Easter fire, the symbol of the mysterious resurrection from death of Christ in the tomb; from the fire we light the Paschal candle which stands in the midst of the sanctuary for the forty days of Eastertide as a sign of the Risen Christ. We hear the narrative of God’s saving acts in the Old Testament; we make new Christians through the Sacrament of Baptism; finally we celebrate the First Eucharist of Easter with bells and organ and loud festal shouts. 

Easter Sunday, April 20

  • 6:30 AM — Silent Meditation
  • 8:00 AM — Holy Eucharist, Rite I (with hymns)
  • 10:30 AM — Holy Eucharist, Rite II (with choir)

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