Borrego Sun - Since 1949

Holy Week and Easter Celebrations


Last updated 3/25/2024 at 11:28am

For Christians, Holy Week begins on Palm Sunday. It commemorates Jesus joyful entry into Jerusalem, with the crowds shouting "Hosanna, to David's Son," greeting him as a great teacher, while waving palm branches. This year it's on March 24, and with palm trees in abundance, there is no need to have them shipped into town. The services of Holy Week come to us from the recorded experiences of pilgrims to Jerusalem as early as the 4th century, one such being a nun named Egeria, who spent several holy weeks and Easters in Jerusalem, having journeyed there from Spain. Usually, services will be held starting Palm Sunday, and throughout the week. The great "Three Days" of Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday all have their distinctive rites.

This year, these fall on March 28, 29 and 30. Thursday commemorates the Last Supper at which Jesus shared the bread and cup with his disciples, and in an act of humble service, washed their feet. Pope Francis notably continues this, even at correctional centers, and it will be done here at churches as well in town along with communion.

Good Friday is the day of Jesus' death on the cross. Here a following of Jesus' steps carrying the cross is done, called the stations of the cross. Some congregations will continue with further services in the afternoon. The account of Jesus' passion – his suffering and death, is read aloud and in some traditions people come up to venerate a large cross in church.

Holy Saturday is when Jesus' body was in the tomb. Later in the day, toward evening, many churches keep a vigil service in which the celebration of Jesus' resurrection begins with the new light of the Resurrection, Jesus coming forth from death and the tomb. Sometimes a fire is kindled but at the least, a special Easter candle is lit and remains in church all through the season. The vigil will have several readings from the scriptures, starting with the creation, then the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt, and other important passages lifting up new life in God. Those at vigil celebrate the first communion of Easter.

Here, early on Easter morning, a shared or ecumenical sunrise service starts the day, sponsored by The Borrego Ministers Association. This year sunrise is at 6:34 a.m. so arrive early and bring a chair. There will be readings, prayers, hymns and a short sermon as well as a sacred piece sung by a special choir. The Sunrise Service takes place behind the Methodist church. The other churches hold their own services later in the morning, but St. Barnabas and and St. Richard's have Communion right after the Sunrise Service.

The season extends for 40 days till the feast of Jesus' ascending to heaven and concludes 10 days later with Pentecost, when the Spirit descended on the gathered disciples, making them the church. This is the most important week of the year for Christians.

Please check the schedule of the churches here and celebrate with them. The ancient greeting is that of the angels at the empty tomb: "Christ is risen. Indeed he is risen."