The thoughts, ideas, findings, and fancies of a Catholic student at Our Lady's University.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Triduum 2005

Holy Thursday

The Sanctuary was, quite simply, the most beautiful I have ever seen it. Yes, it was still a far cry from....almost any other church, but still, it was a pleasure just to sit in there. There were no banners on the wall behind the Altar, in my opinion, so that the Last Supper wouldn't be obstructed. Whatever the reason, the simplicity of it was a very refreshing change. Also, for the first EVER in the history of our parish (as far as I can determine), the Altar was smack dab in the middle of the front, right where it should be all the time. The Lectern was off to one side, where I've been saying they should put it for quite a while.
Liturgically, the only difference was that, instead of the congregational handwashing we usually do, the ushers moved 12 chairs up to the front, 12 pre-selected people came forward, and Father Jon washed their feet. There were 6 men and 6 women, which, if I'm not mistaken, is in violation of Canon Law, but still, the symbolism was there and much appreciated.

Good Friday

No change that I noticed in the service. As usual, we had the 3 p.m. Chaplet of Divine Mercy/Stations of the Cross service. The evening service was, as I said, much the same, except that Father Jon & Deacon Bill didn't come up to the front until well after the readings, which I think is a change from previous years.

Holy Saturday

My favorite Mass of the entire year. The Sanctuary was perhaps the darkest I've ever seen it, and then of course the Liturgy of Light, which includes the only chanting we get all year (probably part of the reason this is my favorite). The Sanctuary stayed in relative darkness, lit only by a few candles - and a few flashlights for those who needed to see more - through the entire Liturgy of the Word.
There were 5 or 6 Confirmations, and 1 baptism, which was that of a 16-month old girl adopted recently from China. She was old enough that she wanted to run around, and when she couldn't, she wailed mightily. As soon as she made contact with the water, though, she was happy as a clam. Later in the rite, she reached down into the Holy Water and started splashing it at Father. Being the oldest of 8 children, he was more amused than anything else.
The homily was awesome. Father started off talking about how Easter is a celebration of life, and then about how all life should be respected. From there, he launched into the bluntest condemnation of a specific affair that I've ever heard at St. Paul's. He said (this is a close paraphrase), "There are some who say that people should not be forced to go through a medical procedure against their will. Food and water is not a medical procedure. There are some who say that we should just allow people to die a peaceful death. Starvation is not a peaceful death."
Needless to say, I was quite impressed, and I told him so after Mass. And as Mom said later, let's hope that many other people heard the same message.

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