By Michael J. ARVIZU
Thursday, Friday and Saturday of Holy Week – the week leading up to Easter – are considered the holiest days in Christianity. They culminate in the celebration of Christ’s resurrection on Easter Sunday.
Each year, faithful can count on a variety of Holy Week and Easter services around town. Every service has its own identity, reflective of the beliefs and traditions of the host church.
Holy Thursday – or in some churches, Maundy Thursday – is the beginning of what is known as the Paschal Triduum, and the first of three days leading up to the death and resurrection of Christ. The day commemorates Christ’s last supper with his disciples on the eve of his crucifixion. Tradition also holds that Christ washed the feet of his disciples on the night of the Last Supper as an example of his love for them.
Good Friday is the day of Christ’s death, and is the most solemn of the three days. It is a day of quiet prayer and reflection. Most worship spaces are bare by this time, with little or no decorations visible.
Holy Saturday is, by tradition, the vigil of Christ’s resurrection, when the faithful eagerly await Jesus’ coming back from the dead. In the Catholic tradition, adults undergoing the rites to become full members of the church, receive the sacraments of baptism, Eucharist, and confirmation, thus welcoming them into the church.
Easter, of course, is the day of Christ’s resurrection. The 40 days of Lent and fast and abstinence are over. The sorrowful mood is lifted, and many churches decorate their worship space with flowers, sing joyful songs and sprinkle the people with holy water.
La Crescenta Presbyterian Church, at 2902 Montrose Ave. in La Crescenta, Maundy Thursday services today will begin with a sacrificial meal served at 6:15 p.m. in the church’s Koopmans Hall. The meal is free. A communion service will take place at 7 p.m. The service will feature the Cathedral Choir and a brief talk by the church’s director of Student Ministries Cameron Hackett. The Lord’s Supper will be served on tables lit by candles.
The church will hold a Good Friday vigil from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Friday. At the conclusion of the service, a 14-foot tombstone will be rolled in front of the sanctuary doors, symbolizing the stone that was rolled in front of Jesus’ tomb at the time of his death. The vigil will continue until 11 p.m. The church’s group will lead worshippers in prayer around a campfire.
The church’s Easter Sunday services will be at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.
For more information, call the church at (818) 249-6137.
Crescenta Valley United Methodist Church, at 2700 Montrose Ave. in La Crescenta, will hold a Good Friday Contemplative Service at 7 p.m. on Friday.
A New Orleans-style Easter Sunday service will start at 10 a.m., featuring horn players Wayne Bergeron, Desmond Ng, and jazz violinist Julio Sharp.
For more information, call the church at (818) 249-6173.
St. James the Less Catholic Church in La Crescenta will hold its Holy Thursday Mass at 7:30 p.m. at St. James, 4651 Dunsmore Ave. in La Crescenta. Adoration in Monsignor Barry Hall will take place following the Mass. Night prayers will begin at 11:45 p.m.
Good Friday services will take place at noon on Friday at St. James and 7:30 p.m. on Friday at Holy Redeemer Church, at 2411 Montrose Ave. in Montrose.
Holy Saturday Mass will be celebrated at Holy Redeemer at 7 p.m. on Saturday.
Easter Sunday services will be at 6 a.m. at Deukmejian Wilderness Park, at 3429 Markridge Road in La Crescenta; at 8 a.m., 10 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. at Holy Redeemer; and 9 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. at St. James the Less.
For more information, call St. James at (818) 248-3442, or Holy Redeemer at (818) 249-2008.
The nonsectarian Ananda Ashrama, at 5301 Pennsylvania Ave. in La Crescenta, will hold Holy Thursday services at 7 p.m. on Thursday, and Good Friday services at 3 p.m. on Friday. The temple grounds will observe complete silence from noon to 3 p.m. on Good Friday. The public is invited to the temple at that time.
Easter Sunday services will be at 6:45 a.m. in the temple patio and 11 a.m. in the temple.
For more information, call Ananda Ashrama at (818) 248-1931.
CV Church, at 4001 La Crescenta Ave. in La Crescenta, will host an Easter egg hunt as part of its Kids’ Place ministry. The hunt will take place at Two Strike Park, at 5107 Rosemont Ave. in La Crescenta, at 10 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. on Saturday.
The church will hold Easter Sunday services, beginning at 7:45 a.m. with a special acoustic sunrise service, followed by contemporary services at 9 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. and noon.
The Verdugo Hills Ministerial Assn. will host the 88th annual Easter Sunrise service at the McGroarty Peak cross overlooking Tujunga on Easter Sunday. The service begins at 6 a.m. and will feature music by New Hope Community Church’s Tapestry Worship Band, scripture readings, and a message by local pastors. Shuttles leaving from the corner of Foothill Boulevard and Hillhaven Avenue will take worshippers to the peak beginning at 5 a.m.
For more information, call Ne
w Hope Community Church at (818) 353-8555.