Lent, Holy Week and Easter 2018

Lent, Holy Week and Easter 2018

74Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent. It is so called because traditionally Christians have the sign of the cross made on their forehead in ash which has been created by burning the palm crosses from the previous year (see Palm Sunday below).  This is to remind us of our mortality (“Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return”) and the blotchy cross on our forehead reminds us that we are imperfect and often need God’s forgiveness and healing.


10.00am at St Thomas : Said Eucharist with imposition of ashes

 2.00pm-4.30pm : “Ashes to Go” in Bell Street, Wigston

 7.30pm  at St Thomas : Sung Eucharist with imposition of ashes

Lent is the period of forty days (excluding Sundays) leading up to the great feast of Easter. Traditionally it was the time when newly converted Christians were prepared for their baptism, which would then take place on Easter Day. It’s also a time for reflection as we all remember how Jesus went into the wilderness and was tempted and as we begin to contemplate the events leading up to his death on the cross on Good Friday.

In addition to our normal round of Sunday and weekday services (see the Calendar here), during Lent we also have some special services and activities:


·        Monday evenings at 7.30pm in the upstairs meeting room at St Thomas’ Church Hall, Blaby Road South Wigston.

·        Tuesday afternoons at 2.00pm in the church Room at All Saints, Bushloe End, Wigston.

Both groups will be studying the course "From Baptism to Crucifixion" based on the course "7" by Fr Eddie Green. The course looks at Christ's experiences from his baptism, through his time in the wilderness to his crucifixion and helps us to relate to these through our own  lives and spiritual journeys. It also explores how the Sacraments help us to experience renewal in our faith.    



This is a traditional devotion, lasting about 30 to 40 minutes, in which we journey with Christ on the Way of Sorrows, reflecting on, and praying about, various key events and encounters.

·        Thursdays at 6.00pm at St Thomas

Note: The church will be open between 5.30pm and 6.00pm and between 6.30pm and 7.30pm for private prayer or spiritual counsel.


·        Fridays at 7.00pm at All Saints

Note: The church will be open between 6.15pm and 6.50pm for private prayer, the Sacrament of Reconciliation (confession) or spiritual counsel.



In most of our church services, we collectively acknowledge our sins and are assured of God’s forgiveness in the words of absolution pronounced by the priest. However, the Church of England also makes provision for those who find it helpful to make a private individual confession in the presence of a priest. Some people do this as a routine part of their ‘rule of life’ but it may also be particularly helpful for those who find it difficult to let go of the past and to recognise that they are forgiven - or indeed to forgive themselves. Those who use this form of confession usually find it a joyful and healing experience and it’s certainly nothing to be afraid of. The seal of the confessional is absolute, meaning that anything you tell the priest is strictly confidential. You really make your confession to God, and the priest isn’t there to judge you (after all, he too is a sinner) but he will do his best to help you and to encourage and advise you where appropriate. If it's the first time you've made a confession in this way, tell the priest and he will guide you.  


·        During Lent, confessions are heard at All Saints on Friday evenings between 6.15pm and 6.50pm, or at any of our churches by arrangement with one of the clergy.  





Palm Sunday

This is the day when we remember Jesus’ triumphal entry into the city of Jerusalem, riding on a donkey, with the crowds waving palms and shouting “Hosanna!”  The service begins outside or somewhere away from the church building, with a reading that commemorates this event, and palm crosses are given to the people and blessed. We then process into church to re-enact the entry into the city. Later in the service the mood changes and the story of Jesus’ suffering and death (‘The Passion’) is read, often with people taking different parts.  We are now sharing with Jesus in the last days of his earthly life.




 8.30a.m. at St Wistan : Said Mass with Blessing of Palms


10.30 a.m. at All Saints : Blessing and Procession of Palms

                             and sung Mass with reading of The Passion


10.30a.m. at St Thomas: Blessing and Procession of Palms

                     and Sung Eucharist with reading of The Passion


Maundy Thursday

Today’s service starts joyfully as we remember how Jesus gave us the gift of the Eucharist (‘Mass’ or ‘Holy Communion’) at the last supper. As we sing the Gloria, a fanfare is often sounded and bells rung as a sign of celebration. Then the priest washes the feet of twelve volunteers as a reminder of how Jesus washed his disciple’s feet. After we receive Holy Communion, the sacrament that remains is taken to a special ‘Altar of Repose’ decorated with flowers and greenery to represent the Garden of Gethsemane, and here we are invited to keep watch and pray for a while, usually up until midnight when we recall Jesus’ arrest. Meanwhile, the church is stripped of all its altar frontals and ornaments as a sign of Christ’s desolation.




·        7.30pm at All Saints : Sung Mass with foot-washing, procession to the altar of repose and stripping of the altars and Watch until midnight.


·        7.30pm at St Thomas : Sung Eucharist with foot-washing, procession to the altar of repose and stripping of the altars and Watch until midnight.   


Good Friday

This is the day when we remember Jesus’ death on the cross. In the main services today - which are very sober - we hear the Passion read once again, we venerate the cross, showing how we appreciate its significance for our lives, and we receive Holy Communion from the sacrament reserved from the previous evening.




11.00am at All Saints : ‘Saints Alive!’

                                   (All-Age worship and reflections)

 2.00pm at St Thomas: The Liturgy of the Passion

7.30pm  at All Saints:   The Liturgy of the Passion



Holy Saturday

Sometimes incorrectly known as ‘Easter Saturday’ (which is really the Saturday after Easter), this is another quiet, reflective day when we mourn Jesus’ death. However, after sunset (either in the evening or in the morning as the sun rises) the church celebrates one of its most glorious, powerful and moving liturgies - The Easter Vigil - as we celebrate Jesus’ rising from the dead.  The service begins outdoors with the lighting and blessing of a ‘New Fire’ from which a large Pascal (Easter) Candle is lit and processed into the darkened church (which represents the tomb). The people also carry candles which are gradually lit. One of the clergy sings an ancient hymn of praise (called the Exsultet) and a number of readings remind us of God’s faithfulness to his people throughout history. We then celebrate the moment of resurrection as the organ plays a great fanfare, bells are rung and the lights come on. Christ is Risen! We go on to baptise new Christians and/or to renew our own baptismal promises. The Eucharist is then celebrated.


8.00pm at St Thomas : The Easter Vigil and First Mass of  Easter


Easter Day - Sunday 1st April 

Today- as on every Sunday - we celebrate the fact that Christ has risen. We celebrate the Eucharist in the customary way, but with particular joy and enthusiasm!



8.30a.m.  at St Wistan : Said Mass with hymns and sermon

10.00a.m. at All Saints : Sung Mass with sermon

10.00a.m at St Thomas : Sung Eucharist with Sermon

 6.00pm at St Thomas : Festal Choral Evensong