A Different Kind of Holy Week


This year I made a commitment to not darken the door of a church for Holy Week. I almost managed it.

Palm Sunday kicked off the week as I was joined by Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and Franciscan brothers for our fourth annual Palm Sunday procession through the Castro. This year we handed out 500 palms in bars, on the sidewalks and in local businesses. Cars stopped for us and drivers asked for palms. Very often we heard "oh, yeah. I forgot it was Palm Sunday".

That was often the same comment we heard when we imposed ashes on the corner of 18th and Castro on Ash Wednesday. I often think of the ministry we offer as helping people remember. It's simple.

On Maundy Thursday another Franciscan brother and I joined Sister MaeJoy B Withu and friends for her fifth annual Maundy Thursday procession through the neighborhood. MaeJoy led us through Maundy Thursday customs from around the world as we interacted with passersby handing out Maundy money and telling Holy Week stories from the Gospels.

On Good Friday we offered a reflection at the neighborhood shrine, then we were off to the Sing-a-long Jesus Christ Superstar. This was another Sister's sponsored event that raised money for the Trans March. The joy and complete involvement of the audience was very moving.

In the wee hours of Holy Saturday night we transformed the neighborhood shrine with Easter flowers to proclaim the Resurrection. Then off to the Vigil at Church of the Advent of Christ the King. A beautiful service.

Then a nap.

Easter morning brought an opportunity for service at Tenderloin Tessie's Easter Dinner at the Unitarian church. Started by a drag queen in her kitchen, Tessie's serves holiday meals to 1000 low income or no income guests.

Then it was off to the Sister's 34th annual Easter in Dolores Park, including the children's egg hunt, fantastic music, grant awards to local nonprofits, the recognition of community saints and (of course) the Hunky Jesus contest. Your deacon brought out her Easter basket and gave out 100 glow in the dark prayer beads ( an Easter tradition).

This year we needed boots and umbrellas as the rainstorms were furious! Hunky Jesus was called off on account of the rain and postponed to a later date. So look for the Second Coming on Friday April 19th (check the Sister's website for time and location).

I ended my Easter Sunday service at Cafe Flore with the annual Mr.and Ms. Royal Bunny contest, a court event that raised several thousand dollars for San Francisco Night Ministry.

Then home to bed. Alelluia.

While this all may seem a bit irreverent, I assure you that these holy people are being Jesus in the world to the lonely, the hungry, the sick and most certainly to the broken hearted. They are meeting people where they are at.

And to this I say Alelluia!