EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

March 23, 2013

Christians begin Holy Week with prayers, drama and music to prepare for Easter

By Yadira Betances

---- — The story of Jesus’ last days on earth come alive as Christians act out the events during Holy Week services.

Tomorrow is Palm Sunday when parishoners walk into church waving palm fronds and singing ‘Hosanna’ just as the crowd did when Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey.

The Rev. Stephanie Chase Bradbury, pastor at St. Paul Episcopal Church in North Andover said Holy Week are the days leading to Jesus’ death on Good Friday and his Resurrection on Easter.

“There are three main parts to the Jesus story, his life, death and resurrection. Holy Week allows us to focus on those two to remember the story, the message and ponder on its meaning,” Chase Bradbury said.

Catholic bishops and cardinals will bless the oils on Tuesday which will be used during baptism, confirmation, anointing of the sick and holy orders and distribute them to each pastor. Priests and deacons also renew the promises they made when they were ordained.

The highlight of Holy Week is the Tridduum — Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday.

During worship on Holy Thursday, service include washing the feet of 12 church members, just as Jesus did to his disciples commemorating His commandment to serve all people. He also shared the Passover Seder with his disciples, leading to the institution of Holy Communion.

Holy Thursday, also known as Maundy Thursday, churches host Tenebrae, a Latin word for shadows. During the service, scripture is read followed by the extinguishing of lights until the church is left in darkness.

Another tradition is the stripping of the altar.

Chase Bradbury said after the service, the ministers and others on the altar remove their vestments as members of the altar guild dressed in black carry away the Bible, candlesticks, chalices, cross, books, and altar cloth. As they do this, the lights are dimmed slowly.

“Any bit of color and ornamentation is removed and the altar is bare and stark. The idea is that where entering with Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane as he faces the cross the next morning,” she said.

Good Friday is a solemn day for Christians as they remember Jesus . Services range from walk of the cross in Andover and Salem, N.H., dramatic and musical presentation.

“All I Have Done for You,” portraying the life, death and Resurrection of Jesus will be performed at noon in Judson Hall at St. Augustine, 128 Ames St. Donations accepted.

At St. Paul Episcopal, this is the third year that Chase Bradbury leads the nails of the cross service against pride, betrayal, envy, indecision, cruelty and hatred at noon and 7 p.m.

Members get a nail, a piece of paper and a pen to write down sins or wrongdoings from the past year.They are encouraged to place the note on a six-foot cross in the sanctuary. After each prayer, a candle is extinguished, follow by singing a stanza from “Where You there when they Crucified My Lord,” and a meditation.

“The service is very powerful,” Chase Bradbury said. “It’s important to hear the gospel message of forgiveness and understand it best when we physically engage with God’s mercy and forgiveness. he message is that Jesus died on the cross to take our sins with him,” she said.

At South Church, 41 Central St., Andover, the church’s choir will be joined by West Parish and Christ Church in performing John Stainer’s “Crucifixion” music and worship service featuring the choirs of South Church at 7 p.m. Guest soloists are James Giessler and Mathew Wight with organist, Barbara Bruns.

Some parishes including All Saints in Haverhill and St. Augustine in Andover, celebrates blessing of the Easter food, a Polish tradition. Families can either bring finished baked goods or the ingredients which will be used to prepare the Easter meal.

“Any liturgy where people are engaged instead of simply being observant makes it more real for them,” Chase Bradbury said. “People have greater ownership of the gospel story rather than seeing it as something that simply happened 2,000 years ago. It becomes personal for them and causes them to look inward and consider when we been that crowd,” Chase Bradbury said.

Holy Week Services

Palm Sunday

Sacred Hearts, 165 S. Main St., Bradford: Easter cantata, “Arise, my Love,” is performed at 3 p.m.

St. Theresa of Our Lady of Good Counsel parish, 22 Plymouth St., Methuen: “Perfect Love,” a cantata featuring monologue and music tells the Passion of Christ through Mary’s eyes, at 3 and 6 p.m.

West Parish, 129 Reservation Road, Andover: Soloist Heather Chu performs selections from Brahm’s “Requiem” with Peter Pulsifer playing the trumpet at 10 a.m.

holy Wednesday

St. David Episcopal, 231 Main St., Salem: Parishioners walk the labyrinth by candle light from 7 to 8:30 p.m. The ancient spiritual prayer tool helps faithful walk on a path leading inward to one’s spiritual self, then outward.

Holy Thursday

St. Paul’s Episcopal, 390 Main St., North Andover, 7pm Holy Eucharist service with Foot washing and Stripping of the Altar. Commemorating Jesus’ commandment to serve all people, followed by entering into the darkness of Gethsemane.

Faith Lutheran, S. Main St., Andover: The Faith Festival Choir, the Ringers of Faith bell choir and a flute soloist perform at the 7 p.m. service. After worship, the the altar will be stripped of its hangings as Jesus was deprived of honor and dignity before his crucifixion.

Good Friday

Our Lady of Good counsel School, Ames St., Lawrence: Mini retreat for children in kindergarten through sixth grade, 8:30 a.m. to noon.

St. Augustine, 43 Essex St., Andover: Residents and clergy join in praying for Andover beginning at 8:30 a.m. Clergy from Andover Baptist, Ballardvale United, Christ Church, Free Christian, St. Augustine’s, St. Roberts and South Church lead prayers for peace in the world, schools, veterans, government, elderly, fire police, churches and the town. The movie, “The Passion” will be shown and discussed at noon. A soup and bread luncheon follows.

St. Augustine of Our Lady of Good Counsel, 128 Ames St., Lawrence: “All I Have Done for You,” a musical interpretation of the last days of Jesus before his death and Resurrection, noon.

St. Joseph, 33 Main St., Salem: Members of Salem’s churches meet at 9 a.m. to walk through town carrying a cross and stopping to pray at different locations.

St. Patrick, 12 Main St., Pelham: Members of the Teen Ministry present living stations of the cross at 7 p.m.

St. Paul’s Episcopal , 390 Main St., North Andover: Service of the Nails where members physically nail their sins to the cross to let go of their pain, noon and 7 p.m .

Christ Church, 25 Central St., Andover: Members of Havurat Shalom sponsor a community Passover Seder, Tuesday at 5 p.m. Rabbi Karen Landy leads the service. Cost is $10 per person or $30 per family. For reservations, contact Paula Jacobson: (978) 854-5579 or prj854@gmail.com

Church listings

Abundant Grace, 127 Rockingham Road, Derry: Christian Coffee House, March 29, 7 p.m., featuring Christian music, open mic sessions and Christian comedy.

All Saints, 120 Bellevue Ave., Haverhill: St. Anthony spring devotion is held Tuesdays at 6 p.m. with Rosary, followed by devotion. Atkinson Congregational, 101 Main St., Atkinson: Cathy Dionne teaches an adult class about ‘Communion, tomorrow 24 at 8:45 a.m.

Ballard Vale United, 23 Clark Road, Andover: The series “Immigration and the Bible: A Guide for Radical Welcome,” ends tomorrow at 9 a.m. through March 24. The Lenten study looks at the stories of immigrants and migration from Abraham and Sarah in Genesis to the Israelites who wondered in the desert for 40 years and Jesus who immigrated to Egypt as a baby.

Faith Lutheran, 360 S. Main St., Andover: Pastor Marsha Heydenreich leads a Bible study group on “The Old Testament in Matthew,” Wednesday from 10 to 11:30 a.m.

First United Methodist, 57 Peters St., North Andover: “Facing the Cross” series continues tomorrow with “Facing Suffering” from Romans 8:18-19

Groveland Congregational, 4 King St., Groveland: Taize prayer, an ecumenical Christian service centered on scripture, silence and songs, tomorrow at 7:30 p.m.

North Parish, 190 Academy Road, North Andover: The Green Sanctuary Film Series presents “Genetic Roulette,” April 7, 6:30-8:00 p.m. Discussion follows.

St. Basil Salvatorian Center, 30 East St., Methuen: Tickets to the reverse raffle and dinner are available for $100. Drawing will be held April 17 at 6 p.m., and only 250 tickets will be sold. Grand prize is $5,000. Each ticket admits two people to a stuffed chicken dinner.

St. Christopher’s Episcopal, 187 East Road., Hampstead: “Rhythms of Grace” a sensory friendly worship is April 6 at 2 p.m. The service includes Bible stories, interactive therapeutic arts and crafts projects, and gluten-free communion. The goal of the non denominational program is to meet the spiritual needs of children and their families living with autism-spectrum disorders.

St. Mary and Joseph Parish, 33 Main St., Salem: The Rev. John Michalowski leads a workshop on the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius now through June. Participants will pray 45 to 60 minutes a day over the assigned scripture passages or meditations from Ignatius’ exercises, then write their experience in a journal. The program, “Exploring the Catholic Faith,” where participants reflect on the Sunday Gospel and discuss it, continues Sundays, 7-8:30 p.m. through Easter.

St. Joseph Cathedral, 145 Lowell St., Manchester: Bishop Peter Libasci leads Mass in honor of the Virgin Mary May 18. It begins with Rosary at 7:30 a.m., Mass at 8 a.m., followed by a catered breakfast. To register, log on to www.catholicnh.org/nhdccw.