“God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.”
— Saint Augustine
Our Holy Week journey began by celebrating Palm Sunday during our weekly Thursday Mass. The school community gathered at the schoolhouse and then processed with palms to the Church of St. James the Less. During the Mass, students and staff members participated in a reading of the Passion gospel.
Maundy Thursday was celebrated with Mass and has three special features: Footwashing, Eucharist, and Stripping of the Altar. All students, faculty and staff received foot washing and/or a foot blessing. This allowed us each to reenact Jesus’ act of washing the feet of his followers and reminded our school community of the importance of humility and service to each other. The Eucharist was reserved at the rear of the nave at an altar of repose, which had been set up with flowers to mimic the garden of Gethsemane. All candles and clothes from the altars in the church were removed and St. James community left the church in solemn silence.
Good Friday was a very somber service. With drumming and singing, drummer LaTreice Branson accompanied the service. At the morning service, the St. James community heard the Passion according to Saint John, had Communion, and prayed the Solemn Collects or prayers. In the afternoon, we journeyed through the Stations of the Cross with musical support from organist Douglas Tester and choir director David Stoverschlegel. This reflection on the crucifixion of Jesus highlighted social justice issues of our times.
Acolytes from St. James attended the Vigil on Saturday night at Saint Christopher’s, Gladwyne. Easter Sunday was joyfully celebrated at Church of St. James the Less with an Easter Egg Hunt for students and other neighborhood children; Mass; and followed by community dinner.
As we recall the events of Jesus’ last days we strengthen our hope of eternal life, made possible through His sacrifice. It is a time for discovering and renewing our faith through prayer, reflection, worship and service. It was truly a joy to experience the holy mysteries of Holy Week and Easter together as a school community.