Friday, April 06, 2007

Good Friday

Last night we had nearly three hundred people at our Mass of the Lord's Supper. It's not an enormous number - about a quarter of our Sunday Mass attendance. At the Holy Ghost we try to do things as well as we possibly can and consequently a great deal of care had gone into the Liturgy. The Servers were well-rehearsed and our Music Director ensured everything went smoothly on that front. After the Mass the Church remained open until midnight for people to come and pray at the Altar of Repose. It was good to see a steady flow of people returning to the Church throughout the night. Quite a few, young and old, stayed to spend at least an hour in prayer.

This morning there was another practice for the Altar Servers in preparation for the afternoon Liturgy. People often comment on how impressed they are by our Servers, particularly on Good Friday. Today we had thirty-six Altar Servers, all perfectly synchronised and immaculately turned out. It seemed as if the procession from the Sacristy would never terminate. I was pleased therefore when afterwards someone commented on how the care we put into things and the reverence of the Servers help them reflect on the enormity of today's celebration. The sung Passion, with the haunting ancient chants also helps people enter into the spirit of the Liturgy, as does the 'creeping to the Cross' which - with nearly six hundred people present - took the best part of an hour.

Confessions have also gone very well this week. We have Confessions every day in the parish which helps minimise the mad rush at the end of Lent that can sometimes happen. Today we were kept going for an additional two hours. I know that some priests are hesitant about offering the Sacrament of Reconciliation today because an earlier edition of the Missal speaks of an 'ancient tradition' according to which the Sacraments 'are not celebrated today'. However, the new editio typica of the Roman Missal is more explicit and adds "except Penance and the Sacrament of the Sick".

After the Celebration of the Lord's Passion any seminarians, Seekers and those interested in knowing more about the priesthood were welcomed at the presbytery where we laid on toasted Hot Cross Buns. There were then more Confessions before Stations of the Cross and the veneration of the Relic of the True Cross, before some of us settled down to watch the final installment of the EWTN Holy Week Retreat.

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