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Seasons and holy days
A CYCLE OF SEASONS, COLORS AND SPECIAL CELEBRATIONS


 

Members and friends of Mount Olive celebrate Holy Eucharist at 8:00 and 10:45 a.m. on Sundays between Labor Day in September and Memorial Day in May. The 10:45 liturgy is the larger gathering, usually with robust congregational singing and a full choir. The 8:00 service tends to be quieter and more reflective in mood.

During the summer months, we celebrate a single Sunday Eucharist at 9:30 a.m.

Another common liturgy for us is Evening Prayer, offered on Wednesdays at 7:00 p.m. during the seasons of Advent and Lent.

We use the Evangelical Lutheran Worship (ELW) hymnal—a collection of liturgies, hymns and other prayers and texts prepared for ELCA congregations—as our primary worship source.

 

 

THE CHURCH YEAR

 


We observe the seasons of the church year as a cyclical framework for Christian life. Each season has a symbolic color to reflect its mood and meaning.

Advent—the four weeks leading to Christmas—is a season of waiting and preparation for Jesus’ birth. We use the color blue and the bare branches of birch trees to symbolize expectancy. To augment our Sunday Eurcharists, we gather for Evening Prayer on Wednesday nights to spend an hour in quiet reflection amid the hustle and bustle of the commercial holiday season.

Christmastide lasts 12 days, although its highlight is unquestionably the joyous Festival Eucharist, which concludes at midnight on Christmas Eve. We use the color white to symbolize purity and holiness in marking the Christmas season.


 

 

Epiphany begins with a festival recalling the Magi’s visit to the baby Jesus. In the weeks thereafter, we recall his baptism and early ministry. The color is white for the Epiphany feast and the commemoration of Jesus’ baptism, and green thereafter.

Lent begins after Ash Wednesday and leads us through the late winter and early spring to Holy Week. Lent is a time of intense self-examination, penance, and self-denial as a way to foster spiritual growth. The season’s color is violet to symbolize penitence. Mount Olive holds contemplative Evening Prayer services on Wednesdays during the 40-day season.

Holy Week captures the immense drama of the Christian story. (The color is scarlet in anticipation of Jesus’ wounds and suffering.) Palm Sunday marks his entry into Jerusalem and foretells his death. Maundy Thursday recalls Jesus’ sharing of a last supper with his friends and the washing of his disciples’ feet. Good Friday puts us at the foot of the cross where we witness his suffering and death. Each service is a gripping experience leading to perhaps the most dramatic liturgy of all—the Vigil of Easter—on Saturday eve.

The Easter season follows, beginning with the Sunday morning festival celebrating Jesus’ resurrection. The color is white.

Fifty days later, the Festival of Pentecost marks the coming of the Holy Spirit to Jesus’ followers and the birth of the church. The color red symbolizes fire and enthusiasm. It is followed by Ordinary time, sometimes called the Time after Pentecost, a long season of growth in faith and service. The color green symbolizes growth and renewal.


 

 

WE CELEBRATE MANY HOLY DAYS

 


We begin our year by celebrating the Name of Jesus (January 1), the Epiphany of Our Lord (January 6) and Ash Wednesday. Observances of significant events in Jesus’ life and ministry include Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and the Ascension of Our Lord. With the Vigil of Pentecost, we turn our attention to the church’s response to Jesus’ teachings. Dates for these observances vary year to year.

We also commemorate Mary, Mother of Our Lord (August 15), Francis of Assisi, renewer of the church (with the blessing of animals, October 4), and St. Luke, Evangelist (a service for healing, October 18). In addition, we offer a Eucharist on Thanksgiving Day.

Visitors whose home congregations do not offer worship opportunities on these special days often join us. Our commemoration of Mary, Mother of Our Lord, for example, is held jointly with the people of Gethsemane Episcopal Church in downtown Minneapolis. Liturgies alternate between Mount Olive and Gethsemane, located at 905 Fourth Avenue South.

 

 

Holy Day
Day or date
Type of service
Time
The Name of Jesus
January 1
Holy Eucharist
10:00 a.m.
The Epiphany of Our Lord
January 6
Festival Eucharist
*Alternate time
The Presentation of Our Lord
February 2
Festival Eucharist
*Alternate time
Ash Wednesday
Wednesday
Holy Eucharist with Imposition of Ashes
12:00 noon and 7:00 p.m.
Lent: Midweek worship
Wednesdays
Eucharist/Evening Prayer
12:00 noon 7:00 p.m.
Triduum: Maundy Thursday
Thursday
Holy Eucharist
7:00 p.m.
Triduum: Good Friday
Friday
Stations of the Cross/Adoration of the Cross
12:00 noon 7:00 p.m.
Triduum: Vigil of Easter
Saturday
Vigil, followed by Festival Eucharist
8:30 p.m.
The Ascension of Our Lord
Thursday
Festival Eucharist
7:00 p.m.
Vigil of Pentecost
Saturday
Vigil based on Evening Prayer
7:30 p.m.
Mary, Mother of Our Lord
August 15
Solemn Eucharist
*Alternate time
St. Francis of Assisi
October 4
Blessing of the Animals
*Alternate time
St. Luke, Evangelist
October 18
Service of the Word for Healing
*Alternate time
Day of Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving Day
Holy Eucharist
10:00 a.m.
Advent: Midweek Worship
Wednesdays
Evening Prayer
7:00 p.m.
The Nativity of Our Lord: Christmas Eve
December 24
Choral Prelude/Festival Eucharist
9:30 p.m. 10:00 p.m.
The Nativity of Our Lord: Christmas Day
December 25
Festival Eucharist
10:00 a.m.

 

*Alternate time: If this holy day falls on a Saturday, the service is held at 4:00 p.m. If it falls on a weekday, the service is held at 7:00 p.m.

 
“I have always felt welcomed at Mount Olive.”

-Brian, member








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