Week Seven: Praying Holy Week

Holy Week is a journey that engages our whole selves. As we celebrate Holy Week anew, we don’t simply commemorate events that took place thousands of years ago. Rather, by entering into the full drama of this sacred week, these events becomes really present again – for us, in us, and through us. This week can open us up, making us vulnerable to God’s spirit. Holy Week is a powerful time for experiencing real conversion of life. However you journey through Holy Week this year, come expecting God to speak to you, to change you, to renew you, and to transform you.

Try This

However and wherever you worship this year, bring your whole body into the experience. If you are worshipping from home, make the liturgy come alive in your living room. Light a candle. Wash each other’s feet. Stand or kneel as you are able when you feel so moved. Hold a prayer rope, a cross, a rosary, to ground and embody your prayer. Use your body to express your devotion and to invite God to move your heart this week. Challenge yourself to not simply watch television, but to fully participate in the liturgies. 

Bring an intention to this Holy Week, to focus your experience. Br. Geoffrey compares Holy Week to Niagara Falls, and encouarges us to find one small stream where we can fill our cup, rather than trying to drink in the whole experience. What do you thirst for? What do you need – especially this year? A deeper sense of being loved? A return of joy? Make clear your need – to yourself and to God. Then put your cup on the table before you as you pray Holy Week, asking God to fill it.

For Reflection

What do you remember from past Holy Weeks? When were most moved – in what places, with what friends, by which prayers? How did God meet you? Go back in your memory to those sacred touchstones, celebrating the power of memory as a way to enter and enrich this unusual Holy Week.

Br. James encourages us to “Come expecting miracles.” When we expect a miracle, our eyes will be open to one. God always comes to us in unexpected ways. Come to the worship expecting it.

Join Us

Holy Week | We Brothers have been amazed to learn how God can move through technology. We pray that this will be true as you join us for the grand liturgies of Holy Week: Palm Sunday, Tenebrae, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Vigil.

The Sunday of the Passion:
Palm Sunday – March 28

9:00 am – Blessing of Palms & Holy Eucharist
4:00 pm – Evening Prayer

Monday in Holy Week – March 29

The chapel is closed.

Tuesday in Holy Week – March 30

5:30 pm – Holy Eucharist

Wednesday in Holy Week – March 31

12:30 pm – Holy Eucharist
7:30 pm – Tenebrae

Maundy Thursday– April 1

7:30 pm – Holy Eucharist with Foot-washing
9:00 pm-7:00 am – Watch before the Reserved Sacrament

Good Friday – April 2

7:30 pm – Liturgy of the Passion and Holy Communion

Holy Saturday – April 3

12:30pm – Liturgy of the Word
6:00 pm – Evening Prayer

Sunday of the Resurrection:
Easter Day – April 4

4:30 am – The Great Vigil of Easter
5:00 pm – Evening Prayer

All services will stream live at SSJE.org/chapel and on the Friends of SSJE Facebook page.

Download a one-page summary sheet on praying Holy Week, which you can place on your fridge, prayer corner, or desk.


  1. Deacon Fergie on March 29, 2021 at 09:46

    I’ve been a deacon in TEC for 12 years and I’m now in seminary at VTS for the priesthood. In our Zoom time after church yesterday (in my field parish), we were talking about remembering Holy Weeks in the past, as you both were in this week’s video. I said I wanted to lament the fact that for the first time in 12 years, I won’t be washing feet, I won’t be stripping the altar, I won’t be chanting the Exultet. There was a lot of “I won’t be” in those statements. So, I do lament. However, I appreciated your reflections on what you can do – even if not worshiping in community. I’m not sure what I “will” do, but it will be something different – done in the name of Jesus.

    • Sharon on April 3, 2021 at 10:52

      I feel much as you do. For me , the stripping of the altar is one of the most profound acts of the liturgical year. But I am finding that something different – mostly in small ways. And , perhaps, I am more aware of those other paths. I realized, a few days ago, how much my physical trainer (we work over zoom now) has become my spiritual director. She is of a different ‘flavor’ of Christianity, but she keeps me steady, and shows forth so much in her life. So, I bought her a nice small cross for Easter. It’s a tiny deed, but I believe that all of us are sometimes that one person in that one position to do a deed nobody else can.
      Lament and go forth!

  2. Carolyn Legg on March 28, 2021 at 16:50

    I am so grateful that you offered the zoom meetings. I so appreciated every one of them, I learned so much and I hope to visit you when the guest house is open again. Thank you again. Peace and prayers, Carolyn

  3. Deborah Talley on March 25, 2021 at 18:54

    Thank you, SSJE. What more can I say?

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