Lenten adaptations to the worship space, crosses, containers, and vessels remain the same for Holy Week except as noted below.
NOTE: Our long-term goal is to provide enough teaching and encouragement about Holy Week during the Season after Epiphany and during Lent that we can be confident that a large number of people will attend Triduum worship. When we succeed, the plan is to observe Palm Sunday without Passion Sunday.
Monday and Tuesday in Holy Week
Evening Prayer is led in the church by a lay Officiant and one Lector. Music is not used. The Officiant may vest in choir habit if desired. Eucharistic candles are removed from the altar and replaced by office lights. Their lighting and extinguishing occur outside the context of the worship itself. Lights in the church are subdued. Bulletins are displayed on a table in the center aisle because ushers likely are not present. The Officiant and Lector are seated on the front row next to the center aisle. Officiating and reading happens at the front of the center aisle. No one ever enters the altar rail.
Wednesday in Holy Week
The Daughters of the King lead Stations of the Cross with no clergy involvement.
The Altar Guild plan for Lent remains in effect except as noted below.
Vestments are blood red. Red altar scarves may be used, but are not required. The red St. Margaret’s set is appropriate, if desired. (Recommendation: Use the plain red altar scarves and the Rector’s blood red set.)
Banners can be returned to the church from Palm Sunday to Maundy Thursday, but the best should be held back until Eastertide.
Cross veils, if used at all, should be red. The same considerations that govern veiled crossed in Lent apply in Holy Week.
Funerals in Holy Week are discouraged, but if they occur, the paschal candle is used, white altar scarves are used, and flowers are optional. The church is not otherwise adapted. Funerals should not be scheduled from Maundy Thursday to Easter Day.
Palm displays are used in place of flowers. Palms can be used to decorate throughout the church as desired. Palm displays can be retained through Maundy Thursday if desired, or removed after the last Palm Sunday Eucharist. No flowers are required during Holy Week. If they are used, they should be modest, and any floral displays used on Maundy Thursday should be easy to remove as part of the Stripping of the Altar ceremony. No flowers are used on Good Friday.
For Palm Sunday (and the Saturday night before), two or more baskets of palms should be made available for distribution by ushers. Straight palm fronds can be offered, of the Altar Guild may, optionally, fold some or all palms into crosses with pins for attaching to clothing.
For Monday through Wednesday, Holy Eucharist is not celebrated, and Altar Guild room setup is not required, except for the following: Eucharistic candles (processional torches near the altar) should be removed to the back wall or the back of the “retable”, and six office lights, plain candlesticks, should be arranged in a line along the top of the “retable” (preferred) or on the altar, if the “retable” is not present on the predella. The office lights are used for Evening Prayer.
For Maundy Thursday, stations should be set up for foot washing, one for each person washing feet. The stations are at the head of the aisles near the altar rail. Each station consists of a well-padded kneeler, two chairs, a supply of towels for drying feet, and two plastic pans (cat litter boxes are ideal) into which water is poured. Each plastic pan is associated with one chair, and the chairs should be arranged on either side of the kneeler so the minister can alternate between chairs. A supply of large plastic pitchers should be available and supplied to vergers who will deliver them to foot washing stations. Altar Guild members should fill enough pitchers with very warm (almost hot) water that vergers can send one pitcher to each station immediately, and there should be enough additional pitchers that at least two are on standby at all times so vergers can restock stations as needed. When they do, they’ll bring empty pitchers back to the sacristy for refilling by Altar Guild members. At the end of the footwashing, vergers will remove the tubs to the sacristy.
More Maundy Thursday: Processional torches are returned to the altar as in Lent, and office lights are removed. Banners, torches, candlesticks, light furniture, and altar paraments and coverings will be removed down the center aisle to the Bride’s Room at the Stripping of the Altar. The Altar Guild may direct that particular items be directed to the sacristy instead, if doing so is helpful to them. The credence table is set up for a regular Lenten Eucharist, including two patens and five chalices, in addition to the one of each included in the “stack.” A soft cloth and a container of an oil or polish appropriate for spreading on the plain wood surface of the altar should be available at a convenient place behind the altar. The oil and cloth are used to wash the altar at the end of the Stripping ceremony.
On Good Friday, no Altar Guild setup is required. The church remains bare, as it was left the night before.
On Holy Saturday, the liturgy for that day is observed informally at 9 a.m., with the Altar Guild members who have assembled to prepare for Easter as the congregation. Items stored in the Bride’s Room are removed to their proper places. Metal crosses, including regular processional crosses and the metal wall cross behind the choir, are returned, and all veils are removed. The metal chalices, patens, bowls, and altar candlesticks are restored, and the floor stands for the processional torches are moved back to the west wall on the north side. A white frontal or white scarves (not the cream Coronation set from Christmas) are used at the altar. Easter flowers are displayed, and a new paschal candle is displayed. In anticipation of the Great Vigil of Easter on Saturday night, the credence table is set up for a regular Eucharist, including one paten and three chalices, in addition to the one of each included in the “stack.”
The processional torches are moved back to their regular places beginning with the Great Vigil of Easter.