Invitation to Holy Week 2014
This year members of the Badaliya at St. Pauls Parish would like to invite all our Muslim friends who have participated in the monthly faith sharing gatherings of the Badaliya and Peace Islands Institute to join our Christian celebration of Holy Week.
During this Holy week the essence of our Christian faith beliefs and what we call the "mysteries" of our faith are being presented. Some of these we share with Islam and others are quite different. Therefore we will have the opportunity to enjoy a lively discussion of our experience and yours at our next Badaliya and Peace Islands Institute gathering in May.
You are invited to join us for any of the following liturgies with the most elaborate being the Saturday Vigil. Please let me know when you would like to come so that we can meet you.
Peace to you.
Holy Week begins on Palm Sunday, April 13th.
Palm Sunday, April 13th. 9 am Mass in the Main Church.
Palm Sunday is called "Passion Sunday" because the entire Passion story of our Lord is read aloud to the community starting with the triumphant entrance of Jesus into Jeruslaem where he will gather with his disciples to celebrate the Jewish Passover meal.
Next we hear of his betrayal by one of his disciples, his retreat with a few of his disciples to the garden of Gethsemene and his agonizing prayers and submission to the will of God, his arrest, torture and crucifixion. The readings end with the moment he is laid in a tomb and it is sealed shut. This is the beginning of the holiest week in the Christian liturgical calendar.
The three days and nights from Holy Thursday to the Easter Vigil Mass on Saturday evening is called "the Triduum."
Holy Thursday, April 17th. The Last Supper. 7:30 pm Mass
The Holy Thursday evening celebration is a re-enactment of the Last Supper that Jesus celebrated with his disciples. We hear the story of how this traditional Jewish feast of unleavened bread, that commemorates the protection that God affords the Jewish people in the face of Egyptian persecution and their "Exodus" from slavery into freedom, is transformed into a new ritual and understanding of freedom in the person of Jesus, the Christ. He instigates a new meaning for the life-sustaining wine and bread of a shared meal.
The liturgy ends with a solemn procession to a chapel where the Bread of the Communion meal is placed before us for a time for silent prayer and reflection, called "Adoration", which ends at 10 pm with the traditional Night prayer that is commonly celebrated every night in monasteries throughout the world.
Good Friday, April 18th. Solemn Celebration of the Lord's Passion. 3 pm Mass
This late afternoon reading begins with Jesus leading a few of his disciples to a place in the Kidron Valley where he often went aside to pray. In Jerusalem this place is called the Garden of Gethsemne, or the "Garden of the Agony". Today in Jerusalem there is a Church called the Church of All Nations, commemorating the rocky place where Jesus shed tears of blood in his agonizing prayer to His Father. The Passion story is heard again as we experience the agony of betrayal and torture and death by crucifixion with Him. We are left at a sealed tomb with our hearts broken, lost along with His disciples, to fast and pray until the following Saturday evening. We will only know why we call this "Good Friday" when we arrive in this spiritual journey on Easter Sunday.
The Easter Vigil, Saturday, April 19th, 8 pm Mass.
The Saturday Vigil begins with the Church in complete darkness. Everyone holds a candle that will slowly light up the whole Church from the fire of the Easter Candle that will remain in our Church throughout the year. Starting with the Biblical story of creation found in the Book of Genesis we hear the powerful stories of the beginning of life and how God enters into relationship with our human history, that we call, "Salvation History." Through the Prophets of Israel to the Letter of Saint Paul and the litany of all the Saints in Heaven we are brought to the morning when Mary Magdalene discovers the empty tomb and we know that Christ is Risen from the dead.
We have learned that if we die with Christ we will also rise with Him and that is the celebration of Baptism that we will see enacted this evening when the Adults, who have been studying, reflecting and praying in preparation for this moment all year, will be Baptized into the Roman Catholic Church with the joy of the whole community around them.
This evening is a long celebration, easily 3 hours, that ends with refreshments and an opportunity to congratulate the new members of our Community.
Easter Sunday, April 20th. A Celebration of the Resurrection.
Masses at 7:30 am, 9 am and 11 am (in the Upper and Lower Church)