Ash Wednesday Service
Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent and occurs 46 days before Easter. The Lenten season represents the 40 days of prayer and fasting similar to Jesus' 40 days of fasting in the desert prior to the beginning of his public ministry. On Ash Wednesday, we receive ashes placed on our foreheads as a sign of mourning and repentance to God. The ashes are typically gathered after the palms from the previous year's Palm Sunday have been burned.
This Wednesday service has its origins in the monastic tradition. Perhaps as far back as the 13th century monks -- during the season of Lent and especially during Holy Week -- would combine several of their daily prayer services to create Tenebrae. The word "tenebrae" is Latin for "shadow, darkness." The service opens with a number of lit candles in the worship space. As readings are read and prayers are prayed, the candles are slowly extinguished until only one remains. this candle is removed, representing the death of Jesus on the cross. After a loud sound is made (to replicate the earthquake at the resurrection), this single candle is brought back out and the congregation departs by its light.
Good Friday Service
Our Good Friday service is the solemn commemoration of the death of Jesus Christ. The service involves the reading of scripture, the praying of collects, periods of silence, a homily, and the veneration of the cross. At the evening service, in place of the traditional gospel narrative, we will have the Stations of the Cross (created by the children of St. Gabriel's in 2011).
Easter Sunday Service
The principal feast day of the Christian year, where with joy-filled voices, we gladly proclaim, "Alleluia, Christ is risen. The Lord is risen indeed, alleluia!" Be sure to bring your bells, as we ring with joy each time the word "Alleluia!" is said or sung. The 8:00am service is a Rite I Holy Eucharist service. The 10:30 services is a Rite II Holy Eucharist Service and includes the flowering of the cross at the beginning of the service. Join us for the Easter Egg Hunt following our service!
The Blessing of the Animals
Each year, our Blessing of the Animals Service allows parishioners to honor the love and care we share with our favorite pets. Participants are invited to bring their favorite pet for blessing. It is one of our most heartwarming services celebrating all creatures great and small.
Palm Sunday Service (Passion Sunday)
Palm Sunday is also known as the Liturgy of the Palms. This service commemorates the day Jesus entered the holy city of Jerusalem in triumph and was proclaimed as King of kings by those who spread their garments and branches of palm along his way. The palm branches used in this service signify Jesus' victory and celebrate that we who bear them in his name may forever hail him as our King and follow him in a way that leads to eternal life.
We open our service with palm fronds waving in festive procession as we celebrate Jesus as King, recalling the joy and hope of the people of Israel that the Messiah had come to Jerusalem. The joy abruptly shifts to sorrow, remorse, and lament as we turn to the focal point of our liturgy: the narrative reading of the passion of Jesus. We journey with Jesus through the Last Supper, to Gethsemane, to Golgotha. Our service concludes on this somber note, as we prepare for the Holy Week journey that has as its endpoint the joy of an empty tomb.
Maundy Thursday and Agape Feast
This service focuses on the Last Supper of Jesus, where he gave his great commandment (the word "Maundy" means commandment) to "love one another, just as I [Jesus] have loved you" (John 13:34). We will gather in the nave at tables arranged in a great circle. The altar will be at the center of the ring, piled high with the offerings for our agape meal. The agape meal is one of the oldest traditions of the Christian church, when people at the end of the day gathered to share in a simple meal and fellowship. In this setting, we will celebrate the Maundy Thursday liturgy, with the reading of scripture, the praying of prayers, and the singing of hymns. In the midst of this service, after the gospel reading, we will enjoy our meal as we reflect as a family on the words we have just heard. The tables will then be completely cleared, and we will continue with the Eucharist. At the conclusion of the service, we will strip the altar and sanctuary in preparation for the Good Friday services.
Easter Vigil Service
On this holy night, in which our Lord Jesus passed over from death to life, the Church invites parishioners to gather in vigil and prayer. This is the Passover of the Lord, in which, by hearing his Word and celebrating his Sacraments, we share in his victory over death.
The service normally consists of four parts, including the Service of Light (lighting of the Paschal Candle), the Service of Lessons, the Renewal of our Baptismal Vows and the Holy Eucharist with the administration of Easter Communion.
Christmas Eve Service
Our Christmas Eve Service is one of our hallmark services starting with our music program at 10:00pm with our traditional service beginning at 10:30. Our traditional service concludes with Silent Night sung in our community surrounded by the warm glow of candlelight.