ST. GEORGE — The Christian season of Lent begins Wednesday, heralding a solemn and joyful period of observances through Easter Sunday when the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is celebrated.
For many, the season is an opportunity for reverence not lost among the many delightful glories the St. George area offers during the advent of spring, art festivals, car shows and egg hunts – lots and lots of egg hunts – over the Easter weekend.
Stations of the Cross in St. George
In St. George on April 14, Good Friday is commemorated with inclusive community participation in an annual “Stations of the Cross” procession downtown beginning at 11 a.m.
Traditionally, the St. George Stations of the Cross, also called the Way of the Cross, involves hundreds of people, including pastors and leaders of Catholic and Protestant churches, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and some city officials participating in an hourlong walk through St. George.
Participants gather at Sandtown Park, 600 N. Bluff St., head down Diagonal Street through the historic downtown area to the parking lot of the Saint George Catholic Church, 259 W 200 North.
Pastors, priests, leaders and others take turns carrying the cross during the procession as participants pause for narrations and hymns commemorating 14 Stations representing Christ’s path to Calvary. A prayer is offered at the final Station recognizing the Resurrection of Jesus, to be celebrated Easter Sunday.
“… you see all of these different churches, all of these folks from so many parts of the Christian community coming together in a show of unity, on what is truly one of the holiest days on the Christian calendar,” Reverend Jimi Kestin said during last year’s procession, “because this is the day that we remember and recognize the price that Jesus Christ paid for our salvation as he went to the cross.”
See video and story: Stations of the Cross procession brings people of many faiths together – 2016
Community Easter Services at Tuacahn in Ivins
In Ivins on April 16, nondenominational Easter services are brought by Calvary Chapel St. George in the Tuacahn Amphitheatre, 1100 Tuacahn Drive.
A sunrise service will be offered at 8 a.m. and family and other services at 11 a.m.
The family service will be held in the main amphitheatre; a children’s service for kindergarten through sixth-grade ages will be held in the mini-amphitheatre and a Spanish service will be held in the indoor Hafen Theater. Nursery care will be available for babies to pre-kindergartners inside the dance studio portion of the facility during the 11 a.m. services.
This Easter service will include a beautiful balance of contemporary worship with a traditional Easter Resurrection message from the Bible, Calvary Chapel’s event webpage states.
Lent is a liturgical season of 40 days beginning Ash Wednesday and ending with the celebration of the Paschal Mystery. Loyola Press, in an article describing the Paschal Mystery in everyday life, said it is “basically the process of dying and rising, death and new life,” something we see all around us in everyday life – in seasons, in nature, deaths and new births in our families. In the context of religious beliefs and the life of Jesus Christ, the article states:
We come to a deeper meaning of dying and rising. Jesus Christ’s passion, death, Resurrection, and Ascension are the ultimate event of dying and rising, of death and new life. We learn from Jesus that new life can come from death, that we can find meaning in tough times, that there really is light in the darkness.
The Paschal Mystery includes the Roman Catholic Church’s Easter Triduum. It begins with the Last Supper on Holy Thursday, the Crucifixion of the Lord Jesus on Good Friday and climaxes with his glorious Resurrection on Easter Sunday.
“(Lent) is a time of cleansing and seeking forgiveness through the Sacrament of Reconciliation and of being called to a deeper personal relationship with God,” the Saint George Catholic Church said in its news release. “Bad habits and acts that lead away, rather than toward God are acknowledged and a true effort is made to cast them aside forever.”
During the Lenten season, the Catholic community fasts from excessive eating on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday and abstains from eating meat on all Fridays. More time is spent in prayer asking for knowledge and wisdom to live a more God-centered way of life, the church’s announcement said, in a world that often does not acknowledge this divine being.
“Lent is a time of repentance, sacrifice and renewal,” the church’s release said. “It is a time to move beyond self, reach out to others and embrace the Cross of Christ, to walk with Him, suffer with Him and ultimately live with Him eternally in His Heavenly Kingdom.”