Easter Services at St Paul’s

Here are the details of services at St Paul’s from Palm Sunday, throughout Holy Week and over Easter

Palm Sunday (14th April) 9.15 am Palm Sunday Procession & Blessing of Palms. Holy Eucharist.

Monday (15th April) 7 p.m. Low Mass in Holy Week

Tuesday (16th April) 7 p.m. Low Mass in Holy Week

Wednesday (17th April) Chrism Mass at Lichfield Cathedral. (Sign up list in Church for anyone needing a lift).

7 p.m. Low Mass in Holy Week.

Thursday (18th April) 7 p.m. Maundy Thursday followed by the Watch at the Altar of Repose.

Friday (19th April) 10 a.m. Ecumenical Procession of Witness through village (starting at the Memorial Hall, followed by hot cross buns & tea)

3 p.m. Good Friday Liturgy

Saturday (20th April) 7 p.m. Easter Vigil & the First Mass of Easter, followed by a party in Church.

Sunday (21st April) 9.15 Easter Sunday Holy Eucharist.

The Meaning of Holy Week

Holy Week is most definitely a very sacred time of the year for it is now that we will commemorate and remember the last week of Jesus’ life on this earth.  These are the days leading up to the great Easter Feast.  Holy Week is extremely important for all Christians.  The great focus of the week is the Passion (suffering) and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the events that led up to it.

Historical documents tell us that as early as the 4th Century the Church celebrated this “Great Week”, with a feeling of profound sanctity. It begins with Palm Sunday, which marks Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem.  The central feature of the service is the palms.  The palms are blessed and then borne in procession to the Church, where the Eucharist is then celebrated.  The other notable and very ancient feature of the Palm Sunday service is the reading of the Gospel of the Passion.

Especially important for Christians is the ‘Easter Triduum’.  This is the 3 days just before Easter.  On Maundy Thursday (Maundy is taken from Mandatum, which is the washing of the feet in the Liturgy of Holy Thursday. In the revised ritual the washing of the feet takes placed after the Gospel, which narrates the same event at the Last Supper. The ceremony is called the mandatum because it was on the occasion of washing His disciples’ feet that Christ gave us the new commandment (novum mandatum) to love one another as He has loved us, see John 13:4-17).  On Maundy Thursday we enact the Lord’s Last Supper, which He shared with his apostles on the night He was betrayed and arrested.  This is one of the most beautiful liturgies of the entire liturgical year.  At the end of the Eucharist, Fr Simon processes the blessed sacrament to the altar of repose (the Garden of Gethsemane), and a vigil of prayer is kept for several hours.  The altars are ceremoniously stripped signifying the desolation that our Lord must have felt the day before He was put to death.

On Good Friday, the day of crucifixion and death of our Lord, we have the veneration of the Cross in the Good Friday Liturgy.  The service is held at 3.00 p.m. in the afternoon (the hour he is believed to have died).  We go forward to kiss the Cross in order to show honour and respect for Christ’s sacrifice for our sake.  There is no consecration of the Eucharist on this day and the Communion we receive will be from the night before which has been reserved in the tabernacle.

Holy Saturday is a vigil.  We keep watch for the expectant rising of Our Saviour.  By paying the price for our sins on the Cross, He gained for us our eternal salvation.   This is a joyous occasion and we have a party following the Liturgy to celebrate.

Those who engage wholeheartedly in the entirety of Holy Week and Easter discover that it can change them   forever.  This is especially so of the Triduum, which standing at the heart of the Easter season is an intense immersion in the mystery of what it really means to be a Christian.  During these days we suffer with Christ so that we might rise with Him at his glorious Resurrection.  Holy week is a time to clear our schedules of unnecessary activities.  Our minds and hearts should be fixed on Jesus and what He did for us.