Holy Week

The holiest period of the Christian year is coming: The Triduum, the Three Great Days, the liturgies that move us from Lent into the celebration of Resurrection.

Each day of the Triduum has its liturgy, a remembrance, and re-embodiment of part of the story. At St. Paul’s, we take this opportunity to celebrate one long liturgy, beginning with Palm Sunday and concluding with the Great Vigil of Easter, in order to enter fully into the story of Jesus’ last week, remembering the incredible drama and celebrating the incredible joy. Here’s what the services are, and what they’re for:

  • April 9 : Palm Sunday - 5:00 pm, 8:00 am & 9:30 am

    We begin holy Week remembering Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem as the common people shouted “hosanna!” and waved palm branches. The story begins triumphantly, but the liturgy ends with the reading of the Passion: the story of Jesus’ arrest, trial, and crucifixion. We are not dismissed on this day; we leave worship singing “Within Our Darkest Night,” which will be the musical thread binding all the Holy Week liturgies together.  Following the 9:30 service we will welcome members of the Orange County Interfaith network for refreshment and conversation. 

  • April 13: Maundy Thursday - Noon and 6:00 pm

    Our Maundy Thursday commemoration begins with an "Agape Meal," similar in nature a middle eastern meal that Jesus would have shared with his Disciples. This became the pattern of the earliest believers to share a meal, read scripture and celebrate the Eucharist. You are invited to be a part of this ancient tradition, beginning with dinner in the Parish Hall at 6:00 pm. (A freewill offering will cover the cast of the meal.)  You can RSVP for the meal here.

    This liturgy incorporates the two stories we inherit about what happened at the dinner Jesus had with his disciples before he died. John’s Gospel tells the story of Jesus washing the feet of his friends and giving us the commandment to love one another (that’s the “Maundy” in Maundy Thursday: “Maundy” comes from the Latin maundate, meaning ‘commandment’). The other Gospels tell the story of what came to be known as the “Last Supper”, when Jesus gave his disciples blessed bread and wine, and told them to keep remembering him this way. The liturgy concludes with the stripping of all the decorative elements in the sanctuary, and the beginning of the overnight prayer vigil, which recalls Jesus’ time praying in the Garden of Gethsemane. We depart into the darkness.

  • April 14: Good Friday - Noon and 7:30 p.m.

    At noon we will gather around the cross for noonday prayers.  Simple music and readings will focus our hearts and minds on Jesus' suffering on the cross.  This service will allow you to come on your lunch hour.

    We gather in the rear of our sanctuary, with the cross as our focus, as we sing, pray, and hear readings around the themes of Good Friday. The harsh reality of Jesus’ death at the hands of the powers of his day is remembered with deep love and reverence.

  • April 15: The Great Vigil of Easter - 7:30 pm*  

    The Queen of Feasts, the absolute highlight of the Christian year, is this night, when we pass from darkness into light, from death into life, from the old to the new. We light a new fire, from which we light the new Paschal candle, which will burn throughout the Great Fifty Days of Easter as a sign of the light of the resurrected Christ. From that light, we will light all the candles in the church. We’ll hear the foundational stories of Creation, the Flood, and the Exodus, and hear from the prophets about God’s redeeming, renewing work in humankind. We will bless new baptismal water and renew our own baptismal vows, and get sprinkled with the water of new life. Then – the trumpets and tympani sound, the lights come up, and we move to the high Altar for the first Eucharist of Easter. Alleluia! Christ is risen!  *incense is used at this service

  • April 16: Easter Sunday - 8:00 am and 10:00 am

    Beauty and joy are the hallmarks of Easter. We celebrate the Resurrection with fabulous music, lots of flowers and candles, incense (at 10:00), our most beautiful vestments, and your favorite Easter hymns. Child care will be available. Following the 10 a.m. service, the celebration continues on the patio with an egg hunt and activities for kids, and brunch for everyone. Don’t miss any of it – Holy Week is your story. Holy Week is our story.