Thursday, March 19, 2020

What will happen to Holy Week?

Dear St. Paul’s family,

Holy Week is just two weeks away, starting with Palm Sunday on April 5. It’s now clear that we won’t be able to observe Holy Week and Easter as we have before. The cathedral staff have put together a plan, however, so that we can all worship from our homes and feel some connection to the greater Body of Christ. All services will be available for live and on-demand viewing on Facebook, some also on our website. All of this of course is subject to change if stricter shelter-in-place measures are enacted, but you can count on some kind of live online worship at the advertised times, whatever happens.

On Palm Sunday, Domingo de Ramos, at 10:30 you can tune in for the Palm Liturgy, followed by a homily and the chanting of the Passion according to Matthew. The 1 pm service in Spanish will follow a similar structure, but with a straightforward reading of the Passion. Please find some palm fronds or fresh branches to hold as you pray. The Palm Sunday liturgy begins on p. 270 of the Book of Common Prayer, or p. 189 en el Libro de Oración Común.

There will be a 5:00 service online, format to be determined, likely including a homily by one of the Bishop’s staff.

We will stream Choral Tenebrae on Wednesday at 7 pm. This service is not in the prayer book: just lose yourself in the beauty!

As the Maundy Thursday liturgy is so focused on the Eucharist and the washing of feet, we could not come up with a suitable substitute. So at 7:00 pm we will stream the video of last year’s Maundy Thursday service, possibly substituting a bilingual homily relevant to the moment. This liturgy is at p.274 in the BCP and para Jueves Santo en p.193 en el LOC.

On Good Friday at noon we will offer the Stations of the Cross on Facebook, filmed on a handheld phone camera. The chanted Passion according to St. John will be available on demand.

On Holy Saturday at 7:30 pm, like Thursday, we will offer the video of last year’s Great Vigil. Again, we hope to include a current, bilingual homily.

On Easter Day at 10:30 am we will host a diocesan, multicultural service led by our Bishop, with musical contributions from a number of parishes and other features to bring our diocese together. The technology for this is being worked on. There will be no other broadcast services on Easter Day.

Please note that the church will not be adorned for Easter in the traditional way. If you have already made a gift towards Easter flowers, thank you; be assured that we will decorate with abandon once all this is past and that your generosity will be appropriately acknowledged. And please, don’t forget to make your regular and special Easter gifts: we are still paying our staff.

I hope this information will help you to celebrate Easter in the midst of these very strange times.

We simply must keep our focus on the resurrection of Jesus and the love of God that never fails. These truths endure regardless of our current reality.


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