Holy Week starts with Palm Sunday and ends with Easter Sunday. Here are brief descriptions of why each day is significant and how we, as a church, recognize their significance.
Palm Sunday, when palms are distributed, is dominated by two liturgical events: the re-enactment of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem and the reading of the Passion narrative, this year according to Luke.
The Way of the Cross (Stations of the Cross): this devotion dates back to the earliest centuries of the Church when pilgrims to Jerusalem would walk the land where Jesus lived and trace his path, with prayer, meditation and devotion at each stop (station).
The Three Days – Triduum Sacrum – is the name given to the three sacred days of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday. These days, immediately preceeding Easter, commemorate the final meal, betrayal and arrest, trial, execution and burial of Jesus the Christ.
Maundy Thursday includes the Mass of the Last Supper and foot washing with the service ending with the stripping of the altar, a powerful expression of the abandonment of Christ by his followers.
Good Friday, the most solemn day of the year, includes the singing of John’s account of the Passion of Christ, solemn prayers (collects) and the veneration of the Cross. The service also includes communion from the Reserved Sacrament.
Holy Saturday, which commemorates the day that Jesus Christ’s body laid in the tomb, includes a brief liturgy, and is followed by an opportunity to meet with clergy for prayer, confession, healing and reconciliation.
Easter Day, is a joyful observance and proclamation that Christ is risen.