Holy Week Services

Holy Week at St. John’s

Holy Week 2024 begins on March 24 with Palm Sunday.   St. John’s will have services on Palm Sunday, Holy Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Saturday evening, leading to the celebration of the Feast of the Resurrection, Easter Sunday, March 31.

Holy Week Services

  • Tenebrae: Wed, 3/27, 7pm
  • Maundy Thursday, 3/28, 7pm
  • Good Friday: 3/29, 12:15 and 7pm
  • Easter Vigil: 3/30, 8pm

Holy Week

The rites observed during Holy Week are believed to have been developed in Jerusalem during the fourth century.  Pilgrims who visited Jerusalem brought these services of “The Great Week” home with them and they were adapted throughout Europe.  The liturgical celebrations of Holy Week are intended to be remembrances of the events of the final week of the life of Jesus Christ, but not a reenactment of them.  We remember the events of that week symbolically, walking with Christ as we move through the events of that week as they are portrayed in the gospels.   These classic rites that we celebrate today were reintroduced to Anglicanism in the nineteenth century in their late medieval Roman or Serum forms and came into increasingly widespread use within the Anglican Communion and the Roman Catholic Church during the twentieth century.  The services that we celebrate entered mainstream use in the Episcopal Church during the 1960s and ‘70’s.

The Sunday of the Passion: Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday begins with the blessing of the palms and a triumphal procession in remembrance of the entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem.  The procession is followed by the penitential Eucharist of the Sunday of the Passion, in which the gospel account of the trial, suffering, crucifixion, and death of Jesus Christ is proclaimed.

Palm Sunday is March 24, 2024.  St. John’s  will have our regular Sunday services at 8 and 10:30 am, with palms and the reading of the Passion.


Tenebrae, whose name in Latin means “darkness” or “shadow” is a solemn observance of a special service of Evening Prayer which provides an extended meditation upon and prelude to, the events in our Lord’s life between the Last Supper and the Resurrection.  No hymns are sung, no sermon is preached, the congregation departs in silence.

Our Tenebrae service will be Wednesday, March 27, at 7pm.

Maundy Thursday

Maundy Thursday is The Proper Liturgy which celebrates the events of the Last Supper, the foot washing, and the institution of the Eucharist.  The name derives from the medieval English adaptation of the Latin word “mandatum,” referring to the commandment of Christ at the institution of the Eucharist.  It is the only Eucharist celebrated between Wednesday and the Great Vigil and it connects the institution of the Eucharist to the sacrifice of the cross.  Immediately following the Eucharist, the altar is stripped and washed with a mixture of water and wine.  Everyone leaves in silence.

St. John’s will observe Maundy Thursday on March 28 at 7pm.

Good Friday

The Good Friday Liturgy is observed in remembrance of the crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ and a commemoration of the salvation of humanity through His victory on the cross, who by dying destroyed the power of death.  The Good Friday Liturgy consists of the Liturgy of the Word which includes the Solemn Collects, the veneration of the cross, and communion from the reserved sacrament that was consecrated on Maundy Thursday.  The Solemn Collects are the Prayers of the People from the medieval Roman Rite.  The veneration of the cross is a ceremony brought home by pilgrims to Jerusalem as early as the fourth century.  The communion from the reserved sacrament was common practice on fast days in the ancient Byzantine church and adopted in Rome as part of the Good Friday Liturgy in the eighth century.  Good Friday may be observed as a solemn fast.

Good Friday is March 29th.  There will be services at 12:15 and 7pm.

The Great Vigil of Easter

Our participation in the resurrection of Jesus Christ is central to our Christian faith.  The Great Vigil is an opportunity to journey with Christ from death to life.  The vigil begins in darkness, the new fire is lit, we hear readings of scripture beginning with creation, Israel’s deliverance from slavery by God, and our own redemption and deliverance from sin, through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  We enter into his death and are raised with him to newness of life through the sacrament of Baptism.  The vigil includes the renewal of our Baptismal vows, the Baptism of new members of the Body of Christ, and the celebration of the Holy Eucharist.  We pass over with Christ from death into life, and with the church from Lent to Easter.

St. John’s will keep the Easter Vigil on Saturday, March 30, at 8pm,  joined by members of the congregations of the Episcopal Church at Cornell and St. Luke’s Lutheran Church.

Easter Sunday

We celebrate the Resurrection of Christ on Easter Sunday with a festive celebration of Holy Eucharist, proclaiming “Alleluia. Christ is risen.  The Lord is risen, indeed.  Alleluia.”  We begin our celebration of the Great Fifty Days with the renewal of our Baptismal vows, which guide us continually in our new of life in Christ, our reconciliation with God, with one another and with all of creation.  The Great Fifty Days of the festival Season of Easter begin on Easter Sunday, continuing through the Feast of the Ascension and culminates on the Sunday of Pentecost. It is a time to welcome new members with the sacrament of Baptism, to deepen our understanding of the meaning of the sacraments, and to rejoice in the Paschal victory of Christ.

Celebrate the Resurrection with St. John’s at the 8am Rite 1 service or the 10:30 am Rite 2 service with choir.d