|St. Peter's by-the-Sea
|Ash Wednesday: Ash Wednesday, the first of the forty days of Lent, named for the custom
of placing blessed ashes on the foreheads of worshipers at Ash Wednesday services. Ash
Wednesday is observed as a fast in the church year of the Episcopal Church. The Ash
Wednesday service is one of the Proper Liturgies for Special Days in the BCP (p. 264).
Ashes are blessed for use on Ash Wednesday as a sign of penitence and a reminder of
mortality. The Old Testament frequently mentions the use of ashes as an expression of
humiliation and sorrow.
Ashes for use on Ash Wednesday are made from burned palms from previous Palm Sunday
services. Ashes are imposed on the penitent's forehead with the words, "Remember that you
are dust, and to dust you shall return" (Book of Common Prayer, p. 265). Imposition of ashes
at the Ash Wednesday service is optional.
|Good Friday occurs between March 20 and April 23 on the Friday before
Easter. It commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus. There are few explanations as
to why the holiday is known as "Good" Friday since it commemorates a sorrowful
time in Christianity. Some scholars believe that "good" is a corruption of the
word "God's" while others speculate that "good" was used to denote "holy". In
Eastern Orthodox churches, the observance is known as Great Friday.
Good Friday has been observed since about 100 C. E. However, for many years
it had no association with Jesus' death but was simply another day of fasting.
Since the late fourth century, it has been associated with the crucifixion.
|This day, Maundy Thursday (also "Holy Thursday" or "Shire Thursday") commemorates
Christ's Last Supper and the initiation of the Eucharist. Its name of "Maundy" comes from the
Latin word mandatum, meaning "command." This stems from Christ's words in John 13:34, "A
new commandment I give unto you." It is the first of the three days known as the "Triduum."
Also commemorated is the story that Jesus washed the feet of the disciples before the
supper. At the service, the celebrant washes the feet of those who wish to partake in the
|The Great Vigil of Easter: Like the children of Israel who watched and waited through the night for the Lord of the Exodus, we too come together this night to watch and wait
for the Lord of the Resurrection. We come, as Christians have come since the first century, to keep vigil and to prepare ourselves for the arrival of the news of Resurrection.
First, we must break the darkness of the night. Our light will be a very special light, for it is the light of Christ which burns atop the Paschal candle and which dispels the
darkness -- of night, of sin, of death. Our light will be a constant reminder of the Easter victory during the coming season, at every baptism and at every funeral. But for now, it
will burn in vigil as we await the Bridegroom.
When we have settled into our pews for the watch, we hear the storytellers among us sharing the stories of our faith -- the stories of God's salvation history and the covenants
which he made with our people. These are our "family" stories. We listen. We sing. We watch. And we wait for the feast to come.
After hearing our stories, we make our last minute preparations to meet our Lord. All must be right for the feast. Those among us who have not yet joined us are brought into
membership with us this night, making all who are here part of the family of which God the Father, Son and Holy Sprit is the head. And so that the whole family is prepared, each
of us renews our baptismal vows. As the water touches us, we hear and we feel that grace which was given to us through our baptism.
We are nearly ready. The time is close. Quickly we prepare the room and set the table. Flowers and banners must adorn the space, for it will be a feast to remember.
And then at last He comes! The Easter victory is won! Our Lord has risen! This is the feast of victory!
|Easter celebrates the resurrection of Jesus, the most joyous occasion in Christianity.
It also marks the end of Lent. The date of Easter varies each year but always falls
between March 22 and April 25. The date is set by determining the Sunday following
the full moon on or after the vernal equinox.
According to the Gospel of St. John and other scriptures, Mary Magdalen arrived at
Jesus' tomb only to find it empty. An angel told her that Jesus had risen and
ascended into heaven.
Many churches hold sunrise services on Easter Sunday to symbolize the return of
light to the world after Jesus' resurrection. The day is observed with feasts and
|Palm Sunday occurs on the Sunday before Easter Sunday in the Western
Christian liturgical calendar. It signals the upcoming end of Lent and the
beginning of Holy Week. The day commemorates the spreading of palms and
clothing in Jesus' path as He entered Jerusalem prior to His crucifixion:
Many churches re-enact Jesus' return to Jerusalem with a processional in which
participants wave palm branches. In areas where palm trees are unavailable,
branches of the pussy willow, yew, and spruce trees are often used.
|Pentecost: The term means "the fiftieth day." It is used in both the Old Testament and the New Testament. In the Old Testament it refers to a feast of seven weeks known as
the Feast of Weeks. It was apparently an agricultural event that focused on the harvesting of first fruits. Josephus referred to Pentecost as the fiftieth day after the first day of
The term is used in the New Testament to refer to the coming of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1), shortly after Jesus' death, resurrection, and ascension. Christians
came to understand the meaning of Pentecost in terms of the gift of the Spirit. The Pentecost event was the fulfillment of a promise which Jesus gave concerning the return of
the Holy Spirit. The speaking in tongues, which was a major effect of having received the Spirit, is interpreted by some to symbolize the church's worldwide preaching.
In the Christian tradition, Pentecost is now the seventh Sunday after Easter. It emphasizes that the church is understood as the body of Christ which is drawn together and
given life by the Holy Spirit. Some understand Pentecost to be the origin and sending out of the church into the world. The Day of Pentecost is one of the seven principal feasts
of the church year in the Episcopal Church.
|The season of Christmas is when Christians around the world celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. It is now believed that Jesus was born
between 7BC and 4AD. The years BC are those before the Christ's birth and the years AD are those following it, from the Latin Anno Domini meaning 'in
the year of our Lord'. Some 350 years after Jesus' birth, Pope Julius 1 decided that 25th December would be fixed as the date of the Nativity as it was
believed that Christ was born on the 25th even though the exact month was not known.
|Ascension Day happens forty days after Jesus' resurrection from the dead on Easter
Sunday and always falls on a Thursday. The name 'ascension' comes from the stories
in the Bible in Mark's Gospel and Luke's Gospel that tell of Jesus ascending (rising up)
Ascension Day marks the last appearance of Jesus to the disciples when they were
walking on the Mount of Olives outside Jerusalem. Jesus came to say goodbye and told
them to return to Jerusalem and wait for God to send them the Holy Spirit which would
help them to spread the word about Jesus.
|The Feast of the Epiphany is on January 6th and marks the end of the 12 days of Christmas. . Epiphany is the time when we celebrate the appearance
of the Magi (wise men or kings) bringing gifts for the Christ Child. .
545 Shasta Avenue 8:00 AM Holy Eucharist 10:00 AM Holy Eucharist Service at the Prado Day Center
Morro Bay, CA 93442 10:30 AM Holy Eucharist