Thursday, April 05, 2012

My last Holy Thursday in Piqua

It was a great day!

I began with morning prayer with the faithful in Saint Clare Chapel, then I did a few things in Saint Boniface Church in anticipation of Good Friday (Holy Thursday Mass was at Saint Mary). Then back to Saint Mary to do a few things around the house, in preparation for dinner with the priests of the deanery, which I host every year.

The priests arrived at 3 pm, and we had prayer together; then snacks and drinks before dinner: Lamb and ham etc., same as every year--the lamb and potatoes were especially good! I watched a bit of the Reds game with our seminarian before we headed over to church. Lots of servers, all eager, and our seminarian Zach Cecil did a great job organizing them. What a relief! I took a moment to explain the vesting prayers, and what an amice, is to a couple of them. They liked the part about protection from the devil--I like that part too!

Well, we got the incense stoked up, and a good, steady server to handle that. The other priests came in, a few panicky moments not worth explaining (no, I wasn't panicking!) and a good complement of Knights of Columbus.

The music was splendid; Father Tom, one of the retired priests, gave a moving homily, emphasizing the encounter between our Lord and Peter. He talked about the trouble among the disciples; he cited the story from Sunday's Passion account, in which one of the disciples ran away, leaving his clothing behind! In other words, where many of them bragged that they left all to follow Jesus, here they were leaving everything to run away! So our Lord comes to Peter--and it's as if he really needed, really counted, on Peter. Father recalled how the Lord also said, "Satan has desired to sift you like wheat--but I have prayed for you!"

Father talked about the four men to be ordained as priests--including Deacon Matt Robben, who worked in our parish for a couple of summers--and he said that, in a way, the Archbishop comes to his priests, much like Jesus to Peter, and pleads: will you stand with me? Will you serve others for me? Will you plead mercy for them? Will you help me open their hearts to my message?

It was very moving--and Father seemed moved as well.

Then I washed the feet of six men; then, after the prayers, parishioners brought forward the oils blessed by the Archbishop on Tuesday. Then--a miscue--I went to the altar to begin the offertory prayers, forgetting I hadn't gotten the gifts! One of the priests signaled me, so, like a dope, I went down to the foot of the sanctuary to receive the gifts! Good thing, too--they brought forward 500 hosts to consecrate!

We had good incense--I used a different brand, and no one seemed to be bothered; however, the folks who can't take incense I am pretty sure don't come on Holy Thursday.

Then the Roman Canon--this has some variations special for Holy Thursday. That's when I thought--this is the last time I'll do this at these parishes. A little sad.

We had a good crowd, it seemed to me; and the procession to the altar of repose was moving to me, at least. Everyone seemed so focused in prayer--it's so powerful. I was grateful in particular for the Ave Verum that the choir sang--I love that!

Well, now I'm kicking back a little, in preparation for tomorrow's marathon. I may get a Lamb sandwich before midnight...

How was your Holy Thursday?

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