Pike County churches prepare for Holy Week, Easter

Published 11:00 pm Friday, March 22, 2013

Written by Gabrielle Pack, intern with The Messenger

As the Lenten season comes to a close, churches in Pike County are preparing to celebrate the resurrection of Christ.

Holy Week beings this Sunday and is a somber, yet hopeful time for those of the Christian faith where churches commemorate the Passion of Christ through observances and worship services.

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During the week leading up to Easter, Christians focus on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The week begins with Palm Sunday, when Jesus was welcomed into Jerusalem, crying hosanna to the son of David, said Rev. Den Irwin or St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church.

“Palm Sunday is where palm branches were laid in the road before Jesus,” Irwin said. “At St. Martin, there is a processional outside of the church that leads to the inside with the reading of scripture passages. During that time, Holy Communion takes place and we know that Jesus’ presence is here with us.”

Maundy Thursday represents a variety of events that took place on the last day before Jesus was arrested. The day is thought to have included Jesus’ last meal with His disciples.

“Jesus also washed his disciples feet and I will wash the feet of 12 men during the service,” Irwin said.

Good Friday is the day churches commemorate Jesus’ arrest, trial, crucifixion, death and burial. Churches use a variety of services aimed at encouraging the faithful to experience some sense of Christ’s pain and journey to the cross.

Some churches use the Stations of the Cross as part of Good Friday services. And many use scripture readings and prayer as the church pays homage to the last hours of Jesus’ life. Although Good Friday services are usually solemn, it is a day to be observed along with the hope of Resurrection Sunday.

“Holy Week signifies the salvation of Jesus and his sacrifice on the cross,” said Marshall Lecroy, Family Pastor of Bush Memorial Baptist Church. “We gather for fellowship on Easter Sunday and remember why we are here.”

Danny Arnold said Park Memorial United Methodist Church celebrates this time in the church for the whole month leading up to Easter, asking the congregation to have special prayer everyday.

Arnold said, “It is a week of special commemoration.”