ST. LOUIS — Thursday night services kicked off a holy weekend of celebrations in St. Louis.

The Mass of the Lord’s Supper signaled the start of Easter celebrations at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church Thursday night.

“We start in darkness and celebrate Jesus, the light of the world rising and being with us,” said Father Jim Lause.

That sense of hope found during the Easter holiday extends to the people in Ukraine.

“When one group of people is suffering, we certainly want to try to do all we can to help them. And certainly, our prayer is one of the best ways to do that,” Lause said.

Similar themes were mirrored at the Jewish Chabad of Greater St. Louis as Passover, which celebrates the Jewish people’s exodus from Egypt, begins.

“Whenever you have events of oppression, that celebration of overcoming, that is also connected to the miracles of Passover,” said Rabbi Yosef Landa, regional director of the Chabad of Greater St. Louis.

This year, the matzah you’ll find on the table at Chabad seders will be the traditional round matzah made in Ukraine. It’s one of the largest exporters in the world.

“These are handmade Shmurah matzahs,” said Rabbi Landa. “This is the original way it was made way back when.”

They’re also showing their support by answering Ukrainian rabbis’ calls to open their seders to as many people as possible, something hard to do back in war-torn Ukraine.

“Bringing in people, especially not the usual family members, is a great way to show that unity, “ said Rabbi Landa. “And it’s a current day time of overcoming of adversity similar to the exodus from Egypt and the hope that God will help.”

If you’re looking to attend a Passover seder, visit:

St. Anthony’s will hold Good Friday services starting at 3:00 p.m. and will continue throughout the weekend.