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Holy Week 2020

Palm Sunday (10:30 a.m. April 5)

Live streamed from Resurrection's Facebook page

Palm Sunday begins our commemoration of the events of Holy Week. All four gospels depict Jesus entering the city of Jerusalem atop a humble donkey, amidst the fanfare of cheering crowds. Many of them shouted “Hosanna,” (literally, “Save us!”) and laid cloaks and palm branches in his path, a traditional response to the procession of royalty.

The service begins in joy, as we bless palm fronds and wave them jubilantly in the air. They are symbols of Jesus’ final entrance into Jerusalem, and may be taken home and kept until next year’s Shrove

Tuesday (the day before Ash Wednesday), when they will be burned to create the ashes for Ash Wednesday.

The mood of the service quickly changes from joy to sorrow, as the central element in the Liturgy of the Word is the reading of the liturgical year’s Passion narrative. This is liturgical year A so we read from the Gospel of Matthew.

In recognition of the ways that we reject and deny Christ, the congregation plays the role of the mob (“Crucify him!”), humbling us and challenging any notions of false pride or piety.

Tenebrae Service (Wednesday, April 8)

No service this year, but FYI

The Office of Tenebrae (meaning “shadows”) combines elements from the ancient monastic night and early morning services (Matins and Lauds) of the last three days of Holy Week.

Each of the “nocturns” indicates a portion of the service that derives from one evening, and consists of psalmody, readings, and short passages from Scripture (responsories). The psalmody is usually chanted by a member or the choir, honoring the monastic tradition of singing the psalms.

One of the most conspicuous features of the service is the gradual extinguishing of candles and other lights in the church until only a single candle, considered a symbol of our Lord, remains. Toward the end of the service this candle is hidden, typifying the apparent victory of the forces of evil.

At the very end, a loud noise is made, symbolizing the earthquake at the time of the resurrection (Matthew 28:2), the hidden candle is restored to its place, and by its light all depart in silence.

Maundy Thursday (April 9)

Here is a link to a liturgy you can practice at home.

Maundy Thursday begins the arc of the Triduum, the three holy days of Christ’s Passion that concludes on Easter Day. The service begins in joy, as we remember the Passover meal established by God with the Israelites on the night of their deliverance from Egypt, and later shared by Jesus and his disciples on their final night together.

We also remember Jesus’ giving of a new commandment: to love one another as he has loved us (“Maundy” is from the Latin mandatum, “command”). But the mood of the liturgy quickly changes and takes on the darkness that permeates the rest of the Passion.

A centerpiece of the liturgy is the act of footwashing, when we will follow Jesus’ example, take on the role of humble servant, and wash one another’s feet.

The sanctuary is then prepared for the solemnity of Good Friday in an ancient ritual called the Stripping of the Altar. All holy objects are removed from the sanctuary, leaving it utterly bare.

The consecrated bread and wine of the Sacrament are transferred to an Altar of Repose, serving as a spiritual reminder of the time that Jesus spent alone in the Garden of Gethsemane the night before his death.

The Garden Watch (8 p.m. Thursday, April 9 to 8 a.m. Friday, April 10)

Live streamed from Resurrection's Facebook page and available on Zoom.

Sign up for prayer shifts here.

The Holy Hour guided prayer shared at the top of each hour

This takes place from the end of the Maundy Thursday service until the following morning. Prayer volunteers sign up to take shifts to pray and watch. Readings, prayers, or poems are read at the top of every hour.

Good Friday virtual stations of the cross (noon, April 10)

Live streamed on Resurrection's Facebook page

View the video in advance here

Good Friday Service (7 p.m. April 10)

Live streamed from Holy Trinity by the Lake and will be shared on Resurrection's Facebook page

Good Friday commemorates the passion and death of Jesus. In keeping with ancient tradition, we pray the Solemn Collects. In these prayers, we pray for nearly everything: for our own sins and redemption, for followers of Christ around the world, and for those who do not know God.

On this day, we also venerate a plain wooden cross. This cross gives us a glimpse of the device used to crucify Jesus, but it also allows us to contemplate our own need to daily die to sin and to rise to new life.

We share the Mass of the Pre-Sanctified, consuming all the remaining consecrated bread and wine from Maundy Thursday. In keeping with ancient tradition, this is not a full celebration of the Eucharist, but a humble and quiet reception of communion on a day when we remember Christ’s death.

While Good Friday is a solemn day, it is not a sad day. We should not pretend that we do not know the end of the story. Yes, Jesus dies, but from his death God makes possible the deliverance of all from death. Therefore, we depart the church in silence, as our Triduum liturgy is not yet over.

Holy Saturday – The Great Vigil of Easter (7:30 p.m. April 11)

Live streamed from Ascension Episcopal Church and will be shared on Resurrection's Facebook page

This is the first service of Easter that takes place at or near sundown on Holy Saturday. The service begins in darkness and with the lighting of the new fire! “The light of Christ!” is chanted three times as the new light of the Paschal Candle is brought into the sanctuary.

The Exsultet is a song making the Easter proclamation and concludes the first part of this four-part service:

  • The Service of Light (kindling of new fire, lighting the Paschal candle, the Exsultet)

  • The Service of Lessons (readings from the Hebrew Scriptures interspersed with psalms, canticles, and prayers)

  • Christian Initiation (Holy Baptism) or the Renewal of Baptismal Vows

  • The Eucharist

Through this liturgy, the BCP recovers an ancient practice of keeping the Easter feast. Believers would gather in the hours of darkness ending at dawn on Easter to hear scripture and offer prayer.

This night-long service of prayerful watching anticipated the baptisms that would come at first light and the Easter Eucharist. Easter was the primary baptismal occasion for the early church to the practical exclusion of all others. This practice linked the meanings of Christ's dying and rising to the understanding of baptism.

EASTER SUNDAY (10:30 a.m. April 12)

Live streamed from Resurrection's Facebook page

Our week culminates in a celebration of our resurrected Lord.  Since the earliest decades after Jesus’ death, the Church has celebrated Christ’s resurrection as the pinnacle of the year.

Easter Day is the annual feast of the resurrection, the pascha or Christian Passover, and the eighth day of cosmic creation. Faith in Jesus' resurrection on the Sunday or third day following his crucifixion is at the heart of Christian belief.

It is the “Queen of Feasts,” the greatest and oldest celebration of God’s glorious work through Christ, and though it begins on Easter Day, in truth it lasts a full fifty days, known as “The Great Fifty Days.”

On Easter Day we say and sing again Alleluia, which was omitted during Lent. Throughout the Church’s history, Alleluia (literally, “Praise the Lord”) has served as an expression of joy that is especially appropriate at Eastertide.

The font will remain central in all Easter Day liturgies, and you are invited to touch the water of the Holy Water Font as a reminder of your own baptism, and the fellowship all believers have with the risen Christ through those holy waters.

The traditional posture of prayer during Easter is standing. The Council of Nicaea in 325CE forbade kneeling for prayer during the Great Fifty Days, and we encourage you to stand with joy and gratitude throughout our worship during Eastertide.

Episcopal Church
of Plano

Rev. Leslie A. Stewart


Rev. Jennifer D. Smith


Mailing Address:

3609 Steven Drive

Plano, TX 75023

Prayer requests can be sent to
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