The Nightwatch

On the night that Jesus instituted the Holy Eucharist (Maundy Thursday), He explained to His disciples that He was about to undertake one of the most difficult trials in His earthly existence. After Supper was ended, He went to the Garden and prayed to the Father for strength to accept what was going to happen. This Garden was called Gethsemane. 

Taking His apostles with Him, Jesus asked them to sit, pray and watch with Him, and to offer support as His difficult hour approached: My soul is very sorrowful, said Jesus, even to death; remain here and watch. After the Altar and Church are stripped on Maundy Thursday, the Sacrament is brought in procession to an area separate from the main Sanctuary, and laid to rest there in a peaceful setting, symbolic of the Gethsemane Garden. This peaceful, restful setting is called the Altar of Repose.

It has been the historical and traditional practice of the People of God to keep watch from the end of the Maundy Thursday Service, commemorating the Last Supper, through the night, to the beginning of the Good Friday Liturgy, the point in history when the soldiers came to take Christ away to be crucified. We will observe this ancient tradition by offering you the opportunity to keep watch, in hour intervals, through the quiet time of the night, from Maundy Thursday evening, through the hours of Good Friday, until Noon, when our Solemn Liturgy begins. This will be a time when you can come and pray, meditate, watch, or do whatever you wish in quiet adoration of the Passion of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Please sign up in the Courtyard on the Nightwatch Sign up sheet.

My soul is very sorrowful, said Jesus, even to death; remain here, and watch.