Holy Week looks forward to Easter Sunday

04/12/2014 12:00 AM

04/11/2014 2:24 PM

Today is Palm Sunday, which ushers in Holy Week, the most sacred time in the Christian calendar.

Services mark the final week in Jesus’ life, from his entry into Jerusalem as people heralded him as their next king to the “Last Supper” with his disciples on what’s often called Maundy Thursday, to Good Friday’s solemn crucifixion and death, followed by Easter Sunday and the joyful celebration of his resurrection.

It’s an unusual year because the Jewish celebration of Passover, the Eastern Orthodox Christian observance of Easter (based on the Julian calendar) and Easter as celebrated by the rest of Christendom (based on the Gregorian calendar) all occur the same week. In the Orthodox church, Easter always falls after Passover, but Western churches sometimes celebrate it as early as two weeks before Passover. In Western churches, the holiday can occur any time between March 22 and April 25.

In all churches, Easter is celebrated with a sense of joy and hope because Christians believe that Jesus’ death and resurrection opened the door to heaven for those who believe he was the savior prophesied in the Scriptures known as the Old Testament.

“Easter is about life!” said the Rev. Dave Kerr of Trinity United Presbyterian Church. “Jesus once and for all took care of the penalty of sin upon himself so that in him, I am assured of eternal life. Because of the resurrection, I am not judged by what I do, but by what he has done for me. His grace is wonderful!”

“Holy Week is a time for new beginnings, restoration of new life, starting over and new hope. Wow, do we all need that!” said the Rev. Brock Hoyer of Modesto’s Free Methodist Church.

“The most compelling part of Holy Week for me is the total trust and obedience to the will of his father (God) which Jesus shows us,” said the Rev. Gerry Grossman of Grace Anglican Church in Turlock. “He struggles with his flesh throughout the trials and terrible events, but is led by the Holy Spirit to complete victory for even me.”

“The passion of our Lord, God and savior Jesus Christ during Holy Week is without a doubt the most important and beautiful opportunity for our souls to be spiritually uplifted in God’s love,” said the Rev. Jon Magoulias of the Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation in Modesto. “Experiencing the holy and venerable passion of Christ brings us to a deeper relationship with our Lord; without the crucifixion, there can be no resurrection!”

Here is a list of some of the week’s services and special events at area churches:

Lent/Easter

LENTEN CONCERT – 5 p.m. today, Modesto Church of the Brethren, 2301 Woodland Ave. “Journey to the Cross” features choir, handbells, piano/organ duet, congregational singing. Presented as gift to community. (209) 523-1438.

Thursday

FOOTWASHING, SEDER – 6 p.m., Grace Anglican Church, 180 S. Denair Ave., Turlock. Service includes foot washing, followed by Seder meal. (209) 632-0788.

HOLY MEAL – 6:30 p.m., First United Methodist Church, 850 16th St., Modesto. Gather for simple meal and recall Jesus’ command to “Love one another as I have loved you.” (209) 522-9046.

SEDER MEAL, PRESENTATION – 6 p.m., Trinity United Presbyterian Church, 1600 Carver Road, Modesto. Includes Passover meal followed by presentation by “Jews for Jesus” on the meal’s symbolism. For all ages; child care available. (209) 529-3228.

HOLY THURSDAY – 7 p.m. concert and Mass, 7:30 p.m., foot washing,, St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, 1813 Oakdale Road, Modesto. Free. (209) 551-4973.

HOLY MASS – 7 p.m., Holy Mass ends with procession of Blessed Sacrament to Altar of Reposed followed by all night adoration, St. John Bosco Roman Catholic Church, 1606 Imperial Ave., Modesto. (209) 538-3318.

MAUNDY THURSDAY – 7:30 p.m., College Avenue Congregational United Church of Christ, 1341 College Ave., Modesto. Service includes Communion and foot washing. (209) 522-7244.

Friday

LAST SUPPER – 9 a.m., Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation, 313 Tokay Ave., Modesto. Divine liturgy of the Last Supper. 7 p.m., Passion of the Christ and the procession of the cross. (209) 522-7694.

LIVE STATIONS OF CROSS – Noon, St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, 1813 Oakdale Road, Modesto. Annual event uses 40 young people in dramatic re-enactment of Jesus’ conviction, carrying of the cross and crucifixion. Hourlong performance ends with Jesus carried away to tomb and closing reflection by the Rev. Father Mark Wagner. Free. (209) 551-4973.

GOOD FRIDAY SERVICES – Noon and 7 p.m., Shelter Cove Community Church, 4242 Coffee Road, Modesto. Sermon: “Determined Love.” (209) 567-3200.

GOOD FRIDAY MASS – Noon to 3 p.m., Mass of the pre-sanctified and adoration of the cross, St. John Bosco Roman Catholic Church, 1606 Imperial Ave., Modesto. Sermon on Christ’s seven last words. (209) 538-3318.

COMMUNITY SERVICE – 12:15 p.m., First United Methodist Church, 650 16th St., Modesto. Gather with representatives from other Christian faith communities to remember Jesus and his ministry at time of crucifixion. (209) 522-9046.

WALK TO CROSS – 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 5 to 7 p.m., Peterson Event Center, 720 12th St., Modesto. “Out of Death, All Things New” is self-guided walk through events leading up to crucifixion of Jesus. Based on Stations of the Cross, it takes about 20 minutes to complete. Presented by Redeemer Church. (209) 523-8990.

GOOD FRIDAY – 1 to 3 p.m., church open for prayer; 6 p.m., quiet Eucharist service, Grace Anglican Church, 180 S. Denair Ave., Turlock. (209) 632-0788.

GOOD FRIDAY – 6 p.m., Free Methodist Church, 1520 Rose Ave., Modesto. Special music, message and Communion. (209) 522-3583.

GOOD FRIDAY – 7 p.m., Trinity United Presbyterian Church, 1600 Carver Road, Modesto. Choir and musicians present musical service of meditation, including John Rutter’s Requiem. Focus on Christ’s ultimate sacrifice for our salvation. (209) 529-3228.

GOOD FRIDAY – 7 p.m., CrossPoint Community Church, 1325 12th St., Modesto. (209) 521-0181.

GOOD FRIDAY SERVICE – 7:30 p.m., College Avenue Congregational United Church of Christ, 1341 College Ave., Modesto. Tenebrae service includes reading of the Scriptures and joint church choir. (209) 522-7244.

Saturday

EASTER VIGIL – 9 a.m., St. John Bosco Roman Catholic Church, 1606 Imperial Ave., Modesto. Easter Vigil ceremonies, including lighting of new fire and sung traditional Latin Mass. (209) 538-3318.

HOLY SATURDAY – 9 a.m., Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation, 313 Tokay Ave., Modesto. Divine liturgy announcing the resurrection. 11 p.m., Matins and divine liturgy of the resurrection. (209) 522-7694.

EGGSTREME EASTER EGG HUNT – 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., The House Modesto, 1601 Coffee Road. Nearly 55,000 eggs hidden for children 12 years and under; special egg hunt for preschoolers. Inflatables, face painting, kiddie train rides, carnival games, live performances, appearances by Captain America and Elsa the Snow Queen. Free. (209) 529-7346.

EGG HUNT – 9:30-11:30 a.m., First Presbyterian Church, 2619 N. Berkeley Ave., Turlock. Egg hunt, games, crafts, snacks, puppets, prizes for children through sixth grade. Free. (209) 632-2324.

EGGSTRAVAGANZA – Noon to 3 p.m., Mill Creek Church, 147 Auto Center Court, Modesto. Easter egg hunt, barbecue lunch, face painting, bounce house and crafts for preschoolers to fifth graders. Free. (209) 345-9264.

‘PASSION’ MOVIE – 6 p.m., First Presbyterian Church, 2619 N. Berkeley Ave., Turlock. The movie “The Passion of the Christ” will be shown. Free. (209) 632-9076.

LABYRINTH WALK – 7 p.m., First United Methodist Church, 850 16th St., Modesto. Join in facilitated walk in fellowship hall that ends as sun sets on Holy Saturday. (209) 522-9046.

EASTER VIGIL – 7 p.m., Grace Anglican Church, 180 S. Denair Ave., Turlock. (209) 632-0788.

Easter Sunday

6 a.m., Free Methodist Church, 1520 Rose Ave., Modesto. Sunrise service in Spanish, followed by brunch. 9:30 a.m., traditional service in English with message: “A living hope.” (209) 522-3583.

6 a.m. sunrise service, plus 7:30 a.m., 9 a.m. (Latin), 10:30 a.m., noon, 1:30 p.m. (Spanish) and 5:30 p.m. Masses, St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, 1813 Oakdale Road, Modesto. Special Easter services; all guests receive special Easter gift. (209) 551-4973.

6:45 a.m., sunrise service, 8:30 and 11 a.m., traditional service, First Presbyterian Church, 2619 N. Berkeley Ave., Turlock. Sermon on “Passion of the Christ.” (209) 632-2324.

7 and 10 a.m. , First United Methodist Church, 850 16th St., Modesto. Sunrise service; gather on front lawn of church to rejoice as followers of the resurrected Christ. Bring fresh flowers for the cross. 10 a.m., traditional celebration of Christ’s resurrection. (209) 522-9046.

8, 9:30 and 11 a.m ., Modesto Covenant Church, 913 Floyd Ave. Message: “Torn (by sin), mended (in death), seamless (in Jesus).” (209) 527-4110.

8:30 and 10:45 a.m., Calvary Chapel Modesto, 4300 American Ave. Message: “Jesus is Alive.” (209) 545-5530.

9 a.m ., St. John Bosco Roman Catholic Church, 1606 Imperial Ave., Modesto. Traditional Latin High Mass, concluding with Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. (209) 538-3318.

9:30 and 10 a.m., Trinity United Presbyterian Church, 1600 Carver Road, Modesto. Early service features Hallelujah Brass, choir, hymns, etc. Later service includes worship band. Both messages: “Living a resurrected life today!” (209) 529-3228.

9 and 10:45 a.m., CrossPoint Community Church, 1325 12th St., Modesto. (209) 521-0181.

10 a.m., College Avenue Congregational United Church of Christ, 1341 College Ave., Modesto. Program for children and child care provided. (209) 522-7244.

10 a.m., Hilmar Covenant Church, 20056 American Ave. Service features handbells, choir, more. (209) 668-0400.

11:30 a.m., Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation, 313 Tokay Ave., Modesto. Agape Vespers on Pascha Sunday. (209) 522-7694.

4 p.m., Grace Anglican Church, 180 S. Denair Ave., Turlock. (209) 632-0788.

EASTER EGG HUNT – 9:10 a.m., Hilmar Covenant Church’s front lawn, 20056 American Ave. Egg hunt for families. Free. (209) 668-0400.

EASTER EGG HUNT – 11:30 a.m., First United Methodist Church, 850 16th St., Modesto. For children from preschool through fifth grade. Gather in fellowship hall. Free. (209) 522-9046.

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