Saturday, April 15, 2006

'A great silence and stillness today'

The headline quote comes from the Liturgy of the Hours, Office of Readings, for today. It is the second reading, a ancient homily on Holy Saturday. I don't know the history of it; I find it striking that it found its way into the breviary even though it is anonymous. Somehow, it was treasured down through the ages, although its origin is unclear.

I gathered this morning with our catechumen, and our candidate for full commmunion, their sponsors, and their guides in the RCIA. We prayed Morning Prayer together, low-key, as I only found time to photocopy the pages from the breviary! But it was nice, all the same. Amidst the church barren of all adornment, there was a great silence and stillness.

After that, the rehearsal for the Great Vigil. For the catechuman and candidate, it was extremely brief: the catechuman tried on an alb to wear later; then I sent them on their way to pray and reflect.

My approach is that the ones receiving the sacraments do not need to rehearse; they simply have to be there, open to God's grace. It's the sponsors' (and RCIA leaders, and by extension, the whole community's) job to lead them through it.

So, after our catechuman and candidate left, I rehearsed things with the sponsors and team. Then, after they left, I went over things with the servers. They're gonna work!

Then, we got things mostly in order for tonight; some folks are coming this afternoon with flowers. God willing, no one will undo what I did! (The pastor at my former parish used to go ballistic when he'd set everything up how he wanted it, only to come back 15 minutes before a big liturgy, and it was all undone. I should have left some notes, "don't touch!" but I forgot. We'll see what happens!)

So, now I'm back home, just ate lunch (leftover pizza from last night -- anchovies and vegetables!), and now to work on my homily for tonight. I really need two, one for tomorrow. I'll take 'em one at a time.


Anonymous said...

A blessed Easter to you Father!!

mrsdarwin said...

May your liturgy tonight go without a hitch! I like your approach to rehearsals for the candidates and catechumens.

Fr Martin Fox said...


Well, if I may say so, it went rather well, although there were some miscues . . .

As I have never presided at the Vigil Mass, there were a few things I didn't recall, such as just when the priest says "Let us pray" after the reading. The answer is, after the psalm. I jumped up too early for the first reading, got it right for the second, forgot the prayer altogether for the third reading, and was back on script from the fourth, on.

In order to have reasonably warm water for the baptism, I planned for the servers to get some during the litany of the saints. They actually went too early, but okay.

But then I forgot to have them pour the water into the font!

So, I started blessing the water, singing the blessing, and doing well . . . then I look down -- the font is empty! And I thought, just how am I going to fix this? So I paused, nodded, they poured, and on with the blessing!

As I did a great deal of singing, my voice started to crack during the preface, but I made it through, and my voice rallied for the Our Father, etc. I didn't sing the Eucharistic Prayer, both because of all the other singing, but also because the retired priest was going to pray part of the Eucharistic Prayer.

Anyway, everyone worked hard; we had seven of nine readings, and every other "bell and whistle," and the vigil went 2-1/2 hours.

Rachel said...

I loved that comment. :) Great way to handle the font being empty-- just nod and brazen your way through!