Women's Holy Week Salad Luncheon returns March 28

Mar. 26—It's been a four-year wait and now the Women's Holy Week Salad Luncheon is poised for a comeback.

The 52nd Annual Holy Week Salad Luncheon is set for 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, March 28, at the Masonic Scottish Rite Center, 302 N. Second St. in McAlester.

Volunteers who organize the event are looking forward to its return, following its cancelation for the past four years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Megan Ciolli, one the organizers, said women in the community have missed the event.

"I think we were missing a sense of community, to be able to get together, praise together and share a meal together," she said.

The Holy Week Salad Luncheon brings women in the McAlester area together for the longtime event, which has been a local tradition for more than a half-century.

"All women in the community are welcome and we hope we can all join together," Ciolli said.

Organizers call it a wonderful opportunity for all women to join together in fellowship for an hour of prayer, music and a motivational speaker, with a large variety of salads to chose from for lunch.

Laura Stockbridge is featured speaker for this year's Holy Week Salad Luncheon. Music will be provided by the Puterbaugh Upper Elementary Choir, Ciolli said.

With serving set to begin at 11:30 a.m., ladies who are attending and who do not work outside the home are asked to bring a large salad and arrive 15 minutes early at 11:15 a.m.

They are also asked to label their salads with their first and last name., with serving utensils to be provided at the site.

Women who are working outside the home are not required to bring a dish, Ciolli said.

"We're asking for the women who do not work outside the home to let them go first, because they're usually on their lunch break," she said.

Dot Thompson is another one of the event organizers.

"Of course, we're excited about it," Thompson said. "We hope people will know about it and make an effort to come."

The Women's Holy Week Salad Luncheon is also known as the Maundy Thursday Salad Luncheon.

With Easter coming early this year, on March 31, Maundy Thursday is the Thursday before Good Friday during the Holy Week.

A derivative of the Latin word maundatum, maundy means the word commandment in English.

It's from John 13:34, when Jesus told his disciples "I give you a new commandment that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you should also love one another."

Four churches are working together to organize this year's Holy Week Salad Luncheon. All women are encouraged to attend the luncheon and do not have to attend one of the four churches involved to participate.

Organizational tasks are divided this way:

—First Presbyterian Church, with Thompson, is hostess and is providing the speaker for the event.

—All Saints Episcopal Church, with Carri Parks, is providing decorations.

—First United Methodist Church, with Ciolli, is providing prayers and publicity.

—Lakewood Christian Church, with Jane Glenn, is providing music.

Contact James Beaty at