For Christians, the week leading up to Easter is the holiest of the year. From Palm Sunday (March 28) to Easter Day (April 4), we journey with Jesus from his initial entry into Jerusalem to his final meal with his companions, his anguish on the Cross, and the victory of the empty tomb.
Throughout Holy Week 2021, we will offer a variety of ways to engage virtually. We hope you will join us for as many of these opportunities as possible.
Palm Sunday, March 28
10 am The Forum: Cross and Crown: Picturing the Death of Jesus in Early Christian Art
On Palm Sunday, Yale faculty member Felicity Harley-McGowan looks at artistic depictions of Jesus' crucifixion in early Christianity. Watch here.
11 am The Liturgy of Palms & Holy Eucharist
Our Palm Sunday service is both a joyful commemoration of Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem and a solemn remembrance of Jesus’ final moments on earth. The Right Reverend Dean E. Wolfe, Rector, preaches.
Musical Notes: St. Bartholomew's Choir sings "Hosanna to the Son of David of Gibbons and the combined choirs lead the hymnody for the day, including "All Glory, Laud, and Honor," "A Stable Lamp Is Lighted," and "O Sacred Head Sore Wounded." Organ music of Bach.
Watch our livestream service from Palm Sunday. Download our service leaflet with hymns and prayers to follow along with us.
Monday, March 29–Thursday, April 1
8:30 pm Night Prayer
The St. Bart’s community gathers on Zoom for a brief evening service. Click here to join Night Prayer.
Maundy Thursday, April 1
6 pm The Liturgy of Maundy Thursday
On Maundy Thursday, we recall Jesus’ last night with his disciples, when he washed their feet and gave them his Body and Blood in the form of Bread and Wine. The service concludes with the procession of the Reserved Sacrament to the Garden of Repose and the Stripping of the Altar. The Reverend Peter Thompson, Associate Rector for Formation and Liturgy, preaches. Download the worship leaflet to follow along.
Musical Notes: The rich musical offerings at this service travel the way from the serene and transporting organ prelude, Olivier Messiaen's "Le Banquet Celeste" to Psalm 22 chanted to plainsong while the altar is stripped to conclude the service. Repertoire includes "Ubi Caritas" in two settings (Taizé chant and Maurice Duruflé), and the chant "Pange Lingua" traditionally sung on this day for over 700 years.
7 pm Maundy Thursday to 8 am on Good Friday : The Night Watch
Keep watch virtually over the Reserved Sacrament, bread and wine which is kept in “reserve” after being blessed at the Maundy Thursday liturgy. At the end of the Maundy Thursday service, the Sacrament is processed to a garden temporarily constructed in the Chapel. By watching over the Sacrament throughout the night, we follow the instructions Jesus gave to his disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane: “stay awake with me.”
Our hope is that at least two people will keep watch at all times through the night. We welcome you to sign up for any time which is convenient for you, but here are some times when no one is scheduled:
Good Friday, April 2
12 pm The Seven Last Words
For decades, St. Bart’s has observed Good Friday by gathering to meditate on Jesus’ seven last words, or sayings. This year, dozens of St. Bartians again participate virtually, offering prayers, reflections, readings, and music from their homes. Join us for a heartfelt and intimate expression of devotion from the whole expanse of our community. Download the worship leaflet to follow along.
Crux Fidelis – attr. John IV of Portugal
Nolo Mortem Peccatoris – Thomas Morley
Corpus Christi Carol – Benjamin Britten
When David heard – Thomas Tomkins
Even such is time – Bob Chilcott
Sicut Cervus – Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina
Jesu, grant me this I pray – Orlando Gibbons, arr. Edward C. Bairstow
Were you there – Spiritual
7 pm The Great Vigil of Easter
The Great Vigil is the official beginning of the Easter season and a favorite service of many. Featuring the lighting of the Paschal fire, stirring stories from the Hebrew Bible, the renewal of our Baptismal Vows, and the first “Alleluia” of Easter, it is the most dramatic liturgy of the year. Have your bells and noisemakers ready!
Musical Notes: Music at the Easter Vigil begins with the Exsultet, the great Easter Proclamation that dates to possibly as early as the fifth century. Music sung by the cantors includes plainsong, Anglican chant, music of Bairstow and others. Choral repertoire includes music of William H. Harris and Aichinger's "Regina Caeli." The great Easter hymns first ring out the good news with great fanfare at this service, which concludes with the Widor Toccata for organ.
10 am The Forum Easter 2021: The Clergy of St. Bart’s on the Meaning of the Resurrection
The Clergy of St. Bart’s reflect on what it means to say, “Alleluia! Christ is risen!” after a year of COVID-19.
11 am Festival Eucharist (Brass Prelude at 10:30 am)
Rejoice in the victory of life over death in this classic Easter morning celebration. A brass prelude begins at 10:30 AM. The Right Reverend Dean Wolfe, Rector, preaches.
Musical Notes: Following a 30-minutes prelude of music for brass and organ, the combined choirs sing the great hymns of the day: "Jesus Christ is Risen Today," "Through the red sea brought at last," and "The day of resurrection." St. Bartholomew's Choir will sing Byrd's contrapuntal masterpiece in six voices "Haec Dies" ("This is the day"). The service concludes with Widor's Toccata, arranged for organ with brass.