76 THE QUEENS COURIER • EASTER & PASSOVER • APRIL 6, 2017 FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM Easter & Passover Your guide to Holy Week BY GINA CONTEH One of the most important periods of the Christian year, “Holy Week,” begins on Sunday, April 9, with the celebration of Palm Sunday. Holy Week refers to the last week of Lent leading up to Easter, or Resurrection Sunday. During Holy Week, Christians remember Jesus’ last days during Passover. Palm Sunday, or Passion Sunday, honors Jesus Christ’s triumphant entrance into the city of Jerusalem to celebrate Passover. In the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, Jesus rides into the city on a donkey as people spread their cloaks and palm branches on the street proclaiming Jesus as the Messiah. During Palm Sunday, observers solemnly enter the church with blessed palm leaves. Mass and services usually include a reading of the Gospel account of Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem. After Palm Sunday, the Triduum, or the last three days, of the Lenten season commence. These days leading up to Easter consist of observations honoring Jesus Christ’s last days on Earth. Holy Thursday, also known as Maundy Thursday, commemorates the last meal among Jesus and his disciples. On this day, Jesus shared a meal with his followers before being betrayed by one, Judas, and arrested in the garden at Gethsemane. During this meal, Jesus introduced the Eucharist or communion to his disciples. He gave them bread to symbolize his body and wine to symbolize his blood. When Jesus and his disciples finished their meal, He introduced the “new commandment.” He instructed them to love one another just as Jesus loved them. Most Christian congregations celebrate Holy Thursday by focusing on the meal that Jesus shared with the men who followed him. This is observed by the sharing of the Eucharist. On Good Friday, the Christians reflect on Jesus’ arrest, trial, crucifixion and suffering, death and burial. This day consists of fasting and services that include Scripture readings, a short homily, meditation and prayer to understand Jesus’ pain and suffering. Many congregations also include the Stations of the Cross. Each scene, using either a picture or a reenactment, show Jesus’ betrayal, arrest, trial and death as worshippers sing and pray. Holy Saturday is a day between Jesus’ crucifixion and his resurrection. Being a Sabbath day, Jesus’ disciples hurried to bury him and planned to give him a proper burial on Sunday. Most Christians observe this day with scripture readings and a reflection of the darkness of the world without God and His grace. On Easter, congregations celebrate Jesus’ resurrection. Easter, like Passover, is a movable feast and falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox. In most denominations, the Easter Vigil includes the Service of Light, the Liturgy of the Word, the Liturgy of Baptism and the Eucharist. In each part of the Mass or service, a candle is lighted and blessed; scriptures from the New and Old Testament are read; members of the congregation are baptized or confirmed; and the Sacrament of Thanksgiving or the Eucharist is taken.
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