ST MARY’S LITURGY FOR HOLY WEEK EXPLAINED

Palm Sunday, 9th April

9.45am The Liturgy of the Palms is the first part of our Palm Sunday observance starts outside the church; The Liturgy of the Passion and the Eucharist follow immediately after in church.

Holy Monday, 10th April

7.00pm Eucharist of Reconciliation & Healing.

This Eucharist is an opportunity for us to set aside time to prepare for our Easter Communion. We fail at times because we are human, but there is one who never fails. God loves us unconditionally. In this Eucharist, we have the promise of unconditional love, the possibility of forgiveness and through that can come healing in our lives. The Anointing cannot only bring forgiveness, healing and peace, but also a profound sense of God's presence to all who receive it.

Holy Tuesday, 11th April

7.00pm Sung Tenebrae.  Tenebrae is a Latin word which means shadows and is the name given to the ancient offices of Matins and Lauds as recited on the last three days of Holy Week.  This service is based on the ancient night and early morning services of Maundy Thursday.  The service is a devotional introduction to the Triduum.  The most conspicuous feature of the service is the gradual extinguishing of the fifteen candles called the Tenebrae Hearse until only the top candle, representing of Our Lord, is alight.

Holy Wednesday, 12th April

7.00pm Holy Week Agape.  Whether it is the story of Jesus fasting in the wilderness before the start of his ministry; the parable of the great feast the father held to welcome back his Prodigal Son or the miraculous rain of manna God gave to the Hebrews to sustain them until they entered the Promised Land flowing with milk and honey, food pops up again and again in the Lenten texts. With all of this in mind we observe Holy Week with a food-related discipline of our own.  The Agape is an opportunity to give up your frantic schedule, your hurried meal as you go to your next meeting, to give up a dinner alone or in front of the television, and join the worshipping community as we gather together to nourish our bodies and souls, just as the earliest Christians used to meet in each other’s homes for regular meals and worship.  Tickets are £5.00 each and available in church on Sundays or in the Team Office.

Holy Thursday, 13th April

7.00pm the Liturgy of Maundy Thursday.  Like the first disciples and as a sign of our unity, we gather around the Lord’s Table and celebrate the Eucharist.  First the Oils, part of our sacramental life are received into Church.  The Gloria – silent throughout Lent and silent again until Easter Day – is sung in thanksgiving for the Blessed Sacrament.  In the Gospel we hear John’s account of the Last Supper, where he tells how Jesus washed the feet of the disciples and said, “I have set you an example, you are to do as I have done for you.”  This is the Mandatum, from which Maundy comes, the commandment of Jesus to us to love one another as he has loved us.  The ceremony of the washing of feet teaches us that sharing the Eucharist means continuing Christ’s ministry of loving service.  We receive broken bread to remind us that Jesus broke bread and that we, a broken people and a broken church, share the broken body of Our Lord and await the healing and joy of Easter.  We then watch as the Sanctuary is stripped of its beauty.  Finally we receive a candle that we light and place before the Blessed Sacrament in the Lady Chapel; we do this as a sign of our willingness to remain with Jesus throughout the journey that lies ahead.  The Watch begins – “Will you not watch with me one brief hour?”  That is the challenge of Maundy Thursday, to stay with Jesus to the end.

Good Friday, 14th April

9.30am Churches Together in Dorchester Walk of Witness.  The witness starts with an act of worship in Holy Trinity Church.  Then members of the worshipping communities walk down South Street in silence.  The witness concludes with a time of prayer and fellowship at the United Church.

1.30pm The Liturgy of Our Lord’s Passion.  Good Friday is not simply the anniversary of a past event!  This solemn service allows us to enter into the mystery of what Christ has done for us and continues to do.  The Liturgy has four parts:  The Liturgy of the Word begins with a time of silent prayer and ends with the readings of The Passion; The Proclamation of the Cross is the veneration of the cross and, in union with Jesus, we entrust to God our own burdens and the suffering of the whole world; The Solemn Prayers are an opportunity to pray ‘at the foot of the cross’ with Mary, the mother of Jesus and John, the Beloved Disciple; and The Liturgy of the Sacrament when we receive the Sacrament which was reserved on Maundy Thursday.  The two days are connected in this action and together they speak of Jesus’ self offering and loving service.  We depart in silence.

Easter, Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th April

4.00pm Tea@4 Easter Craft and Easter Egg Hunt.  Our Easter celebrations begin with a chance for families and people of all ages to come together, hear the Easter story and get creative.  And if that’s not enough excitement, there will then be an Easter Egg Hunt.  If you fancy celebrating Easter in a fun, informal, messy way we’d love you to join us!

8.00pm The Liturgies of Easter begin!  The Liturgy of the Light takes place after dark on Saturday outside the Church.  The Paschal Fire is blessed and from its flames a light is taken to ignite the Paschal Candle.  We glimpse the fragile light of Resurrection and its light leads us back to God.  The nine churches of the Team gather for this service in St Mary’s.  The Vigil of Readings are the stories of our redemption.  Starting in the Old Testament, the Vigil draws us toward the moment of Salvation, we proclaim Christ as risen!  For the Liturgy of Initiation we stand at the font.  Having heard of flood, of grave, of glory, we stand in the light and we recall our baptism promises:  Do you reject the devil? Yes.  Do you renounce evil?  Yes.  Do you repent of your sins?  Yes.  Do you turn to Christ?  Yes.  Do you submit to Christ?  Yes.  Do you come to Christ?  Yes.  Proclaiming the Good News! Mary was the only disciple to see the Risen Christ on that first visit to the tomb.  The other disciple, saw, believed and went to tell the others.  We do similarly: we go – we tell – we urge them to come and join us in the morning.

9.45am The Liturgy of the Eucharist brings our celebrations to their climax, whether on the Road to Emmaus, by the lakeside, or in the upper room, Jesus is present to his followers.  And on Easter Morning the Garden of Repose becomes the Easter Garden and in the Eucharist, Jesus comes again and we experience him in the breaking of the bread and in the cry Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

There is also a said Holy Eucharist at 8.00am on Easter Morning.