Tag Archive for 'Holy Week'

Holy Cross Observes Fasting and Prayer for Holy Week

At the suggestion of parishioner Arthur Walmsley, retired Bishop of Connecticut, we are inviting all our members to observe Holy Week this year with special disciplines of fasting and prayer in solidarity with the suffering around the world and here at home. In the news are the continued devastation and nuclear peril in the wake of the earthquake in Japan, violence and oppression in the Arab world as people struggle to achieve democracy and equality, and budget cut-backs at the federal and state levels that threaten the safety net for our most vulnerable sisters and brothers. In this week when the Church focuses on the suffering of Jesus, it is appropriate for Christians to take on special disciplines of fasting and prayer in solidarity with them, as Jesus sacrificed himself for us.

Part of our observance of fasting and prayer will be at church, each evening beginning at 6:00 p.m. On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, we will have two-hour services of silent prayer, readings, intercession for particular people or groups who are suffering, and a short, simple Eucharist. On Maundy (Holy) Thursday, the regular 7:00 p.m. liturgy commemorating the Last Supper will be preceded at 6:00 p.m. by a silent, agape soup and bread supper, during which there will be a reading. On Good Friday, the 7:00 p.m. liturgy will be preceded at 6:00 p.m. by Stations of the Cross.

The following are some suggestions for fasting at home during the week:

  • Make one meal each day a light one.
  • Give up snacks between meals.
  • Give up some food: meat, desserts, alcohol . . .
  • Give up prepared foods or gourmet foods.
  • Pray each day for some person or group of persons in suffering or need: Japanese victims of the earthquake; victims of violence or unrest in the Arab world; those affected by government cut-backs in services; the unemployed; those affected by rises in fuel, gas or food prices.
  •  Contribute money you save from fasting to the offering on Easter Day, which will be divided with the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem. Pressured between Zionist Jews and Muslims, the Diocese operates many schools, hospitals and other charitable institutions in countries throughout the Middle East.

Lent 5 March 21, 2010

Isaiah 43:16-21                                                                  

Philippians 3:4b-14                                                            

John 12:1-8

 “You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.” – John 12:8

I am tired. The other day I was visiting with an old friend, a man my age. How are you, he asked. I’m exhausted, I said. And I began to cry.

Well, part of that exhaustion is that we’re coming up to Holy Week and Easter, and clergy are always exhausted getting ready for the string of demanding liturgies at this time of year. Part of it is also that on top of all those services we’ve added the whole Come and See evangelism project for Easter. And, of course, God has seen fit, as he does most years, to put the Crucifixion and Resurrection right in the middle of income tax time and cleaning up the garden for spring. So, exhaustion is to be expected. As Anne reminds me, it’s an annual thing.

But part of my exhaustion is also a participation in your exhaustion. Someone said to me recently, “You get around in your job, don’t you.” And indeed I do. You might say that “getting around” is my job. The old word for the parish priest was parson, which comes from person. The parson was the “person” of the village, who got around and visited everyone and gathered up their thoughts and prayers and lives on his heart, to offer them to God. The other part of his job was carrying God on his heart to offer God to his people – equally important, and something that can get lost in a priest’s daily busyness. Continue reading ‘Lent 5 March 21, 2010’