Holy Week 

 

Palm Sunday (The Sunday of the Passion)

The Sunday before Easter at which Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem (Mt 21:1-11, Mk 11:1-11a, Lk 19:29-40) and Jesus' Passion on the cross (Mt 26:36-27:66, Mk 14:32-15:47, Lk 22:39-23:56) are recalled. It is also known as the Sunday of the Passion. Palm Sunday is the first day of Holy Week. Red is the liturgical color for the day. A form for blessing palms was provided by the Book of Offices (1960). The 1979 BCP presents the full title for the day, "The Sunday of the Passion: Palm Sunday" (BCP, p. 270). The liturgy of the palms is the entrance rite for the service. The congregation may gather at a place apart from the church and process to the church after the blessing of the branches of palm or other trees (BCP, p. 270). The liturgy of the palms includes a reading of one of the gospel accounts of Jesus' entrance into Jerusalem. The branches may be distributed to the people before the service or after the prayer of blessing. All the people hold branches in their hands during the procession. Appropriate hymns, psalms, or anthems are sung. The Prayer Book notes that the hymn "All glory, laud, and honor" (Hymns 154-155) and Ps 118:19-29 may be used (BCP, p. 271). The Hymnal 1982 also provides "Ride on! ride on in majesty!" (Hymn 156) and "Hosanna in the highest" (Hymn 157) for the procession at the liturgy of the palms. The Hymnal 1982 provides musical settings for the opening anthem, the blessing over the branches, and the bidding for the procession (Hymn 153). The procession may halt for a station at an appropriate place such as the church door. The BCP provides a stational collect which may be used (p. 272). The palm liturgy may be led by a deacon or lay reader if a bishop or priest is unavailable.

 Maundy Thursday

 The Thursday in Holy Week. It is part of the Triduum, or three holy days before Easter. It comes from the Latin mandatum novum, "new commandment," from Jn 13:34. The ceremony of washing feet was also referred to as "the Maundy." Maundy Thursday celebrations also commemorate the institution of the eucharist by Jesus "on the night he was betrayed." Egeria, a fourth-century pilgrim to Jerusalem, describes elaborate celebrations and observances in that city on Maundy Thursday. Special celebration of the institution of the eucharist on Maundy Thursday is attested by the Council of Hippo in 381. The Prayer Book liturgy for Maundy Thursday provides for celebration of the eucharist and a ceremony of the washing of feet which follows the gospel and homily. There is also provision for the consecration of the bread and wine for administering Holy Communion from the reserved sacrament on Good Friday. Following this, the altar is stripped and all decorative furnishings are removed from the church. See Eucharist; see Foot Washing.   

Good Friday  

The Friday before Easter Day, on which the church commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus. It is a day of fasting and special acts of discipline and self-denial. In the early church candidates for baptism, joined by others, fasted for a day or two before the Paschal feast. In the west the first of those days eventually acquired the character of historical reenactment of the passion and death of Christ. The liturgy of the day includes John's account of the Passion gospel, a solemn form of intercession known as the solemn collects (dating from ancient Rome), and optional devotions before the cross (commonly known as the veneration of the cross). The eucharist is not celebrated in the Episcopal Church on Good Friday, but Holy Communion may be administered from the reserved sacrament at the Good Friday service. 

Easter Eve (Holy Saturday)

The Saturday before Easter. In the early church it was a day of fasting and preparation for the Easter Vigil. There is no celebration of the eucharist on this day, in accordance with church tradition. The term "Easter Even" was used by the 1549 Prayer Book. The 1979 BCP uses the title "Holy Saturday" for the Saturday before Easter (p. 283).