Holy Week and Easter at St. Philip’s

St. Philip’s has seven services on Easter Day: 6 a.m. (in the Columbarium garden), 7:45 a.m., two at 9:15 a.m. (one in the Church, one in the Children’s Center Courtyard), 11:15 a.m., 4 p.m. (“Come and See” in the Music Center), and 5:30 p.m. The Great Vigil of Easter, at 7 p.m. on Holy Saturday evening, is considered the first Easter service. There is at least one service each day during the days of Holy Week. For more information see below. For a downloadable schedule, click here.

Easter Services

great vigil 1The Great Vigil of Easter is held on Holy Saturday, March 26, at 7 p.m. The service begins with the Service of Light (lighting the New Fire and Paschal Candle and candlelit procession, with incense), the Vigil recounting the history of our salvation (through readings and chanting), Holy Baptism, and the first Holy Eucharist of Easter. The service will be followed by a potluck reception: participants are invited to bring their favorite sparkling beverage and chocolate finger food, in addition to noisemakers for the Easter Proclamation.

CIMG0559Easter Day, March 27, will begin at St. Philip’s with a sunrise service at 6 a.m., including hymns, with keyboard and trumpet (held in the Columbarium Garden). At 7:45, there will be a Festival Eucharist Rite I (Eucharist in traditional language), including hymns, with organ and trumpet. At 9:15 there will be two services: an All Generations Eucharist and Baptism outside (in the Children’s Center Courtyard) with the St. Nicholas and Cherub Choirs, handbells, and brass, designed for schoolage children and their families, and a Festival Choral Eucharist Rite II (using more modern language, adopted in 1979) in the Church with adult choirs, handbells, and brass. Another Festival Choral Eucharist Rite II, including incense, will take place at 11:15 a.m., again featuring adult choirs and brass. At 4 p.m. there will be a “Come and See” Eucharist for those who are looking for a reinterpretation of traditional theology. At 5:30 p.m. there is an Evening Eucharist Rite II with hymns.

Holy Week Services

holy week cross 2On Monday of Holy Week, March 21, there is a Holy Eucharist Rite II service at 5:30 p.m. in the Chapel of the Nativity. At 10 a.m. on Tuesday, March 22, there is a Holy Eucharist Rite II and Healing service. On Wednesday, March 23, the final Lenten noontime Holy Eucharist Rite II will take place at 12:15 p.m.

The Ancient Office of Tenebrae, on Wednesday evening, March 23, at 7 p.m., is a moving descent into the darkest days of the church year. The liturgy is a merger of the traditional Matins and Lauds, with plainchant led by the Canterbury Choir and Canterbury Apprentices. During the service all of the lights in the church are progressively extinguished except one candle.

20130328_193514The Triduum, or “three sacred days,” begins on Maundy Thursday through Holy Saturday. The Liturgy of Maundy Thursday, March 24, begins with a supper at 6 p.m. Enjoy lasagna, salad, rolls, and dessert, hosted by St. Philip’s Vestry. The liturgy, at 7 p.m. in the Church, includes the traditional footwashing, Eucharist, and Stripping of the Altar, which symbolizes the laying of Jesus in the tomb. Music will include plainchant.


After the Maundy Thursday service, beginning at 9 p.m. and continuing until 10 a.m. on Friday, March 25, Dante’s Inferno will be read the way the author intended. Each 30-minute segment of the all-night vigil in the Church will include reading of selected cantos from the Inferno, silent meditation, and atmospheric music. Participants may arrive and leave throughout the night. Security will be on site all night.

empty tabernacleIt is traditional to have a noontime service on Good Friday, to correspond with the time Jesus’ suffering on the cross began. The noon Good Friday service at St. Philip’s, on March 25, includes veneration of the cross, the Solemn Collects, and communion from sacrament reserved at the Maundy Thursday service.

The Children’s Way of the Cross takes place on Good Friday at 5:30 p.m. in the Children’s Center. The Way (or “Stations”) of the Cross is a devotional service of prayer and meditation dating from the early centuries of the Church, with stations representing stops on Jesus’ route to Calvary. This will enable children to experience Good Friday in a way that will better enable them to live humble, sacrificial, joyful lives in the Lord’s service.

At 7 p.m. on March 25, a choral ensemble, soloists, and instruments will present the 17th Century work Die sieben Worte Jesu Christi am Kreuz (The Seven Last Words of Jesus Christ from the Cross) by Heinrich Schütz. Each section of this oratorio focuses on one of the phrases uttered by Jesus from the cross, as recorded in the Gospels.

The public is cordially invited to attend. St. Philip’s In The Hills Episcopal Church is located at the northeast corner of River Road and Campbell Avenue (4440 N. Campbell). Ample parking is provided in the north parking lot or under the solar structure on the east side. It is a good idea not to leave valuables in plain sight in your car during Easter services. The office phone is 299-6421.


All-Night Reading of Dante’s Inferno: Maundy Thursday Vigil

candlesA tradition on Maundy Thursday is to keep vigil through the night, meditating, praying, and remaining with Christ’s presence, as Peter, James, and John were asked to do in the Garden of Gethsemane. As we have the past six years, St. Philip’s will observe this time of vigil by hosting an all-night reading of Dante’s Inferno. On Maundy Thursday, April 2, beginning at 9 p.m. in the Church, hear the Inferno read the way Dante originally intended. Selected Cantos will be read by parishioners, distinguished poets, eminent translators, visiting scholars, and honored guests. Each half-hour segment will begin with the tolling of the tower bells and will include silent meditation, atmospheric music, and the reading of one Canto. The reading will continue until 10 a.m. on Good Friday. Attendees are welcome to stay for as much of the reading as they would like or to arrive or depart at any time. Other areas of the Church and Columbarium garden are available for prayer and to keep watch throughout the night.

Many St. Philippians will participate as readers, hosts, and musicians. Guest readers for 2015 include Dr. Fabian Alfie, Head, Department of French and Italian, University of Arizona, who is a six-year veteran of the event. Other special guests include Patrick Baliani, playwright, and David Alexander Johnston, a well-known local actor.

dawn in church

Dante’s epic poem the Divine Comedy is an allegorical account of Dante’s journey through the three realms of the dead, during the last three days of Holy Week (which begins with Maundy Thursday) in 1300. The portion entitled the Inferno tells of the journey through Hell, guided by the Roman poet Virgil. Dante’s trip through hell is an inward journey to the dark heart of the human soul.

richard croppedThis annual tradition draws a wide and diverse community. It has become the custom of a United Methodist youth group from Phoenix to arrive in the wee hours of the night and keep watch until the break of dawn. More than 140 attended last year’s Inferno reading and some point during the night, and “meaningful” was a common refrain among the varied reactions to the experience. One participant remarked “Observing the early light of Good Friday through the altar window is too moving to put into words.” Other comments included “It really brought my faith alive,” “I felt a kind of wonder on Maundy Thursday night,” “It was all rather ethereal. Although we were reading about hell, we were experiencing something of heaven,” and “It was an amazing experience.” The format of 30-minute segments enables attendees to participate in the experience on their own terms and find meaning in their own way. This event offers the opportunity to delve more deeply into meditation on the final days of Jesus’s life.

The public is cordially invited to attend. St. Philip’s In The Hills Episcopal Church is located at the northeast corner of River Road and Campbell Avenue (4440 N. Campbell). Ample parking is provided on the church campus at the north or east sides. Security will be on site all night. The office phone number is 299-6421.