I'm just sort of recovering, after having some dinner. It's been a very priestly Good Friday.
I lead Morning Prayer at Saint Mary's at 9 am--after driving over to Saint Boniface to borrow some prayer books from the chapel, and running through Tim Horton's drive-through for coffee and two plain donuts--the first collatio. Only one person came for Morning Prayer--we usually only get a handful--but that was fine.
I headed back to the rectory to finish my coffee, and to review the Missal for Good Friday--with the new translation, there are some changes--and then back to hear confessions. I was supposed to begin at 10 am, and I came 15 minutes early, yet I found about 5 people (I say "about" because I try not to look at folks waiting for confession!). I was in the confessional from then right up till 11:55, when I had to leave to get ready for stations at Noon. I'm sorry for the folks who were still waiting, but what could I do?
Stations went well; with the steady seminarian and two experienced servers, all went well. Then after stations, I went back to hear more confessions for another 45 minutes. At 1 pm, a group of parishioners began a "seven words" reflection--I was able to participate in the last 15 minutes, it was nicely done, I thought. then at 1:30 pm, I met with the severs to prepare for the Solemn Liturgy. We reviewed everything--same servers, so they were not easily flustered.
I can't describe what it means to prostrate before the Cross. I think of my ordinations as a deacon and a priest; but also I think of my sins, and I think of the cross above me.
My homily was--well, it's hard to describe at this juncture, as I'm tired; but I was trying to talk about the meaning of the Cross to all of us who suffer injustice; and the room that there is at the Cross for each of us. And I talked about why there is no Mass on Good Friday--because, in a way, there is; we have a "pseudo-Mass"; we replace the sacrificial part of the Mass with veneration of the Cross.
Then the solemn intercessions. I messed those up a bit, but I think it worked out all the same.
Then the veneration of the Cross--I used a relic of the True Cross (which I explained to all in my homily); as far as I can tell, it was well received. I want you to know I am always deeply moved to observe the faithful as they come forward to adore the Cross. If I did anything to encourage that faith and devotion, then I've done my job.
Then communion; and for whatever reason, there was no one assigned as an extraordinary minister. No matter; it was my privilege, as father, to feed my family. After everyone came forward, I went to the choir loft to bring the Eucharist to the choir, who performed so beautifully. The music was beautiful, elevating, heavenly. Thank you choir!
After the solemn liturgy, I led the Divine Mercy chaplet, initiating the novena. Then the seminarian drove me--with our Eucharistic Lord--over to Saint Boniface. As Saint Boniface did not have the Mass of the Lord's Supper, the Eucharist consecrated at Saint Mary is taken over to the other parish. We do this every year. Over at Saint Boniface, I also did a few things to prepare for the liturgy there tonight--which the retired priests handled, as well as confessions and stations before--but also printed out my notes for rehearsing the Vigil with the servers tomorrow. Then back home to take a breath! It was about 4:30 pm.
Well, I kind of zoned out for awhile, then ordered a pizza--mighty tasty!--and now I feel revived.
Men, if you wonder what it's like to be a priest, I've tried, through some weariness at the moment, to illustrate it. I heard confessions for about three, solid hours. I can't say a thing about that, you understand; but that's priestly! It's wonderful to be the Lord's messenger of forgiveness. I did what I could to present the Passion of our Lord on the most solemn day. I did what I could to point God's people to the Cross, on which our God died. I lifted up the Cross; I gave his people his Body and Blood. What could be more priestly?