Sunday mornings in Lent

You will notice some changes in our liturgy during Sundays in Lent. We use Rite I in all our services. This service traces its roots to the first Book of Common Prayer (1549). The Rite I offers us beautiful traditional language—but there’s more to it than that. This service powerfully captures both the reality of the human condition and God’s great grace to us in Jesus Christ. Additionally, there are some other changes in keeping with Lenten themes that give the service a simpler, sparser, and different kind of beauty. We omit the Alleluias and altar flowers. We do not sing or say the Gloria (the hymn of praise at the beginning of the service) or the Doxology (“Praise God from whom all blessings flow,” sung at the presentation of the offerings), nor do we use the carillon (the bells in the tower that usually play before and after the service). The liturgical color of purple reflects penance and reminds us the purple garment Christ was forced to wear by mocking soldiers after his arrest. Finally, the wooden Holy Table we normally use for Communion is removed. We will celebrate Communion on St. Alban’s original altar, with the Celebrant facing east (ad orientem). Having the clergy and people all face the same direction reminds us of our common humanity, all approaching God humbly, mindful of our sin and God’s mercy. CLICK TO RETURN TO LENT, HOLY WEEK, & EASTER SCHEDULE

Holy Week: Frequently Asked Questions

Is Holy Week still Lent?
Holy Week is still in the season of Lent, even though we change our liturgical color from purple (signifying penitence) to red (signifying Jesus’s sacrifice for us on the cross). This means the altar is still ad orientem (“to the East”), as we all face the same direction, approaching God humbly, mindful of our sin and God’s mercy.

Holy Week is a time of intense focus on Jesus’s suffering and redemption, as well as the gateway to the resurrection joy of Easter Sunday. In our tradition, we believe that it is important to walk with Christ to the cross, beholding his suffering with quiet gratitude before the celebrations of his resurrection.

Your clergy are still available for the Rite of Reconciliation, often used by Christians during Holy Week. Confess your sins openly without fear of judgment, and hear God’s good word of pardon and absolution. The absolution in these services may be pronounced only by a bishop or priest.
Please note: Another Christian, such as a deacon, may be asked to hear a confession, but it must be made clear to the penitent that absolution will not be pronounced; instead, a declaration of forgiveness is provided. Please email lent@stalbanswaco.org or call the office, 254.752.1773, to schedule an appointment.

What is the “Passion”? Why do we use this word on Palm Sunday and Good Friday?
“Passion” comes from the Latin word “passio,” which means “suffering.” The “Passion Narratives” are the stories in the Gospels that tell the story of Jesus’s final sufferings on behalf of all humankind.

What is Maundy Thursday? (7 PM, March 28)
Maundy Thursday, also called Holy Thursday in some traditions, commemorates the night that Jesus washed his disciples’ feet and instituted the Eucharist (“this is my body, this is my blood”). It is called “Maundy” from the Latin word “mandatum.” In John’s account of the Last Supper, Jesus gives a “mandatum novum,” or “new commandment,” to his disciples: to love one another as Jesus has loved them. We strip the altar at the end of this service to symbolize the stripping of Jesus’s clothing and his abandonment by the disciples before the crucifixion.

What is the All Night Prayer Vigil? (9 PM – 7 AM, March 28 – March 29)
The Prayer Vigil following Maundy Thursday symbolizes Jesus’s plaintive cry to the disciples: “could you not tarry with me one hour? Could you not watch and pray?” And so we “watch and pray,” coming to the church for one hour of prayer and meditation. Please use the QR code found on the next page to sign up for the vigil.

What is Good Friday? (Noon and 6 PM, March 29)
Good Friday commemorates the day of Jesus’s crucifixion. We tell the story of Jesus’s death on the cross by which he destroyed death and won for us salvation and offer special prayers for the whole world. This service is the only day of the year in which the Church does not celebrate Holy Eucharist. The loose plate offering at this service will benefit the Anglican Diocese of Jerusalem.

What is Holy Saturday? (10 AM, March 30)
Holy Saturday is a simple, quiet service that evokes a sense of patient waiting until Jesus’s resurrection.

What is the Easter Vigil? (8 PM, March 30)
The Easter Vigil is the first service of Easter, since in Jewish tradition, the day begins at sunset. The readings emphasize the passing from death to life symbolized by the ancient Israelites passing through the Red Sea to liberation and new life. Traditionally, the Church baptized converts to the faith at the Vigil of Easter. The service includes the “new fire” of Easter, the lighting of the Paschal Candle, a beautiful musical proclamation of Easter by the clergy called the Exsultet, many bells and Alleluias, and the first Eucharist of Easter.