Observing the Season: Ash Wednesday & Holy Week

February 14, 2018

Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return. – Genesis 3:19

The Cathedral observes the first day of Lent with the liturgy of the Holy Eucharist and the Imposition of Ashes at four services throughout the day.

Spoken services are offered in the morning in the intimacy of the Cathedral’s chapel of St. James. At the afternoon and evening services, celebrated in the Crossing, the choir offers contemplative music befitting this solemn occasion, including Allegri's Miserere.

Ash Wednesday Service Schedule
Ministers will be available for personal prayer and the imposition of ashes on Amsterdam Ave. from 6:30 am – 6:30 pm.

A Service of the Word with the Imposition of Ashes (Please note: The Eucharist will NOT be celebrated at this service.)
7:15 am
Chapel of St. James (spoken)

The Holy Eucharist & Imposition of Ashes
8:30 am
Chapel of St. James (spoken)

The Holy Eucharist & Imposition of Ashes
12:15 pm
Music by Allegri, Tompkins, and Adelmann

The Holy Eucharist & Imposition of Ashes
7 pm
Music by Allegri, Tompkins, and Dawson


March 25–April 1

Palm Sunday
March 25
The Palm Sunday liturgy takes participants on a journey from Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem through the Passion story of his betrayal, persecution and death as experienced through processions, readings and music.

9 am The Blessing of the Palms & Holy Eucharist
11 am The Blessing of the Palms & Holy Eucharist
Note: This service will start with the Liturgy of the Palms outside, in front of the Town Building, on the south driveway between 111th & 112th Streets followed by a procession to Amsterdam Avenue, entering the Cathedral through the front entrance.
4 pm Choral Evensong

Holy Tuesday
March 27
On this special day in the life of the Church, the clergy of the Diocese of New York gather to reaffirm their ordination vows and observe the consecration of sacramental chrism oil. All are welcome to attend this 10:30 am liturgy, which takes the place of our regular 12:15 pm Eucharist.

8 am Morning Prayer
8:30 am Holy Eucharist
10:30 am Liturgy of Collegiality, The Holy Eucharist & Consecration of the Sacred Chrism
5 pm Evening Prayer

Maundy Thursday
March 29
Sunset on Maundy Thursday marks the beginning of the Holy Triduum, the three-day liturgical sequence that recalls the passion, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

8 am Morning Prayer (St. Martin’s Chapel)
5 pm Evening Prayer (St. Martin’s Chapel)
7 pm Maundy Thursday Eucharist & Stripping of the Altar
In the Maundy Thursday liturgy, we commemorate the Last Supper and the tradition of the Mandatum novum (New Commandment), as the clergy ceremonially wash the feet of the People.

9 pm The Reading of Dante Alighieri’s Inferno
After the 7 pm liturgy, the annual American Poets Corner reading of Dante Alighieri’s Inferno commences. Please visit the American Poets Corner page for more information about this signature Cathedral event.

9 pm All-Night Vigil
Immediately following the Maundy Thursday liturgy, all are welcome to join in a centuries-old tradition of prayer and meditation in the Cathedral Baptistry. After the Dante reading, the Cathedral falls into silence, as those gathered keep watch over the Reserved Sacrament overnight, and contemplate Jesus’ journey as well as their own. All are welcome.

Good Friday
March 30
The Cathedral offers many unique ways to observe this most solemn day of the church year. No 12:15 pm Eucharist or 5 pm Evening Prayer this day.

8 am Morning Prayer
The All-Night Vigil closes with this service. All are welcome.

12 pm Good Friday Liturgy
A traditional Good Friday observance, which uses Victoria's Passion, sung by the Cathedral Choir, to tell the crucifixion story.

2:30 pm Stations of the Cross or Via Crucis
Readings, in Spanish and English, and congregational chanting and hymns take participants through twelve stations, ending in the Biblical Garden. Begins in the Narthex.

7 pm Stations of the Cross featuring David Briggs
Travel through the stations of the Cross with organ improvisations by Artist in Residence David Briggs meditating on the Passion story.

Holy Saturday
March 31
7 pm The Great Vigil of Easter & Holy Eucharist
Beginning in total darkness, the congregation joins the clergy in illuminating the Cathedral by candlelight, as we observe the Paschal mystery – the passage from darkness into light, from death into life—told through scriptural readings and chanted psalms. When the lights of the Cathedral are finally thrown up, all join in ringing in the first moments of Easter, as the Great Organ sounds for the first time since its silencing on Maundy Thursday. The Bishop of New York celebrates, the Dean of the Cathedral preaches, and the Cathedral Choirs sing.

This is the only liturgy of the day.

Easter Day
April 1

8 am Holy Eucharist with organ accompaniment
11 am Festal Eucharist for Easter Day
The Cathedral will be brimming, as we sing together great hymns for Easter with glorious brass accompaniment. The Cathedral Choirs sing and the Bishop of New York celebrates and preaches.

There is room for all who wish to attend the Festal Eucharist on Easter Day and passes are not required. The limited number of reserved seating passes available to the general public have now all been distributed.

4 pm Festal Choral Evensong
The drama and jubilation of Holy Week culminates with a Festive Evensong featuring music of of Radcliffe, Friedell and Byrd. The Cathedral Choir is joined by the Cathedral Brass and Timpani.

Visit the Calendar for information on all of the Cathedral's services.