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St. Anthony’s begins Holy Week observance today

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POSTED March 29, 2010 2:21 a.m.
While Christians look forward to Easter Sunday, the high water mark of  Christendom, the Catholic church has several equally important and liturgies leading up to the celebration of the Christ’s joyful resurrection.

Father Patrick Walker, the pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church in Manteca, referred to these important liturgies in his message to parishioners on Palm Sunday. He noted that the faithful pack the church at the Masses on Easter Sunday while the solemn liturgies on Holy Thursday and Good Friday are not as heavy attended. Yet, he noted, these are “just as important as Easter Sunday.”

The liturgy on Holy Thursday is what used to be referred to as “the washing of the feet.” It commemorates the time when Jesus washed the feet of his apostles.

“We also wash the feet of some parishioners, symbolizing that Jesus came to serve, not to be served,” Father Walker explained in his parish bulletin message.

Holy Thursday also celebrates the institution of the Holy Eucharist or communion, and the priest hood. The service will begin at 7 p.m.

Good Friday will be highlighted by the annual “Living Stations of the Cross” presented by the St. Anthony’s School students. This moving dramatization of the passion of Christ combines music, drama, and moments of reflection. This program held inside the church will begin at noon. It will be immediately followed by the solemn liturgy of the Lord’s passion at 1 p.m. in English, the veneration of the Cross, and the Holy Communion.

Among Catholics, Good Friday is also a day of strict fasting and abstinence from meat.

The celebration reaches crescendo on Holy Saturday when the lighting of the new fire will take place in the evening during the celebration of the Easter Vigil which will begin at 8 p.m.

Sunday’s Easter services will follow the usual scheduled services at 7, 8:45, 10:45, 12:30 p.m. in Spanish, and 6 p.m.

For further details about Holy Week observances, call the church office at 823-7197.

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