Holy Week: Path to Easter season

Published 7:28 pm Monday, March 29, 2010

Palm Sunday marked the beginning of Holy Week, the final week of Lent, a time when many Christians remember one of the most spiritually significant events in history.

“It is when we commemorate the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem and celebrate Passover,” said Father Eamon Miley, pastor at St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church.

“In Holy Week, we symbolically walk with Jesus on his last days,” said Father Jeffrey Gibson of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church.

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Churches throughout the county will be preparing for that journey as Easter Sunday approaches.

Churches such as St. Martin’s, St. Mark’s and First United Methodist will hold Maundy Thursday services commemorating the last supper of Christ.

On Friday, Park Memorial United Methodist Church will hold a Tenebrae service for Good Friday. The “service of lights” will involve the extinguishing of lights and end in darkness. The church will remain unlit until Easter morning when the sun rises.

St. Mark’s and St. Martin’s will also have Good Friday services commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus.

The Holy Week activities of St. Martin’s will culminate at a Saturday evening ceremony that remembers the night apostles Peter and John ran to the tomb of Jesus to discover his body wasn’t there.

“This is the greatest night of the year for Catholics,” Miley said.

“We light the Easter fire outside the church, that fire symbolizes God.”

The ceremony begins in darkness, a representation that the light of the world, Jesus, had been extinguished.

A large candle is lit off of the fire outside of the church, this symbolizes Jesus is risen.

“The Easter candle is brought in great ceremony into the darkened church,” Miley said.

After members of the church congregation have then each had their own candles lit, all the lights of the church come on concluding the liturgy of light. This is part one of a four-segment service that lasts up to three hours.

Clergymen say that while Holy Week calls Christians to share in the suffering of Christ it is ultimately fulfilled by the greatest Christian joy, Christ’s resurrection.

“We believe that to come to church on Palm Sunday and not return until Easter Sunday leaves one without the whole mystery,” Gibson said.

“You really haven’t participated with Jesus unless you have walked that whole path.

Schedules for this weeks worship and events for some churches are below.

First Baptist Church of Troy

Thursday: 6 p.m. Maundy Service, The Lords Supper; Saturday: 10 a.m. Easter Egg Hunt and puppet show; Sunday: 10:30 a.m. Easter Service

First United Methodist Church

Tuesday: noon Lenten lunch and service with guest speaker Rev. Bob Brown; Wednesday: noon Lenten lunch and service guest speaker Rev. Dave Kirby; Thursday: noon Lenten lunch and service with guest speaker Rev. Bob Cruikshank / 7 p.m. Maundy service; Sunday: 8:30 a.m. Early Easter Service / 10:50 a.m. Regular Easter Service

Park Memorial Methodist Church

Thursday: 6 p.m. Prayer Walk Through Stations of the Cross; Friday: 7 p.m. Tenebrae Service; Sunday: 8:30 a.m.,11 a.m. Easter Services

St. Mark’s Episcopal Church

Thursday: 6:30 p.m. Maundy Eucharist & Footwashing; Friday: noon Good Friday Liturgy / 6:30 p.m. Stations of the Cross; Saturday: 7:30 p.m. Great Vigil; Sunday: 9:30 a.m.Easter Sunday Holy Eucharist Rite II followed by reception and egg hunt.

St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church

Thursday: 6 p.m. The Lords Supper, Footwashing and procession symbolizing Jesus’ night in the Garden of Gethsemane; Friday: 3 p.m. Stations of the Cross / 6 p.m. Holy Friday, the Passion of our Lord; Saturday: 7:30 p.m. Holy Saturday Easter Vigil, the Four Liturgies of the Eucharist; Sunday: 10 a.m. Easter Service