Sunday, March 23, 2008

Tremendous Triduum

Well, I'm going to brag about my two parishes a little, as I unwind after the Vigil Mass, with a snack and beer.

I already described the Holy Thursday Mass, and the night watch the Knights of Columbus kept. Good Friday began with morning prayer, confessions, which were many, until around 11:30. We had the Stations at 12:15, then Mid-day Prayer ("Sext") at 1 pm, then the Solemn Liturgy began at 2 pm. Since Mid-day Prayer was brief, and I'd already rehearsed the servers, I ducked back into the confessional--if I went over to the house, I'd just want to eat, anyway. A surprising number came, considering it wasn't scheduled. I told several that they might reflect on the providence of their making a confession at that moment; I might well not have had time to come back, they might not have had the opportunity. So they had experienced a moment of grace, something to consider.

Since we have only one Holy Thursday Mass for two parishes, but a Good Friday liturgy at both, one in the day, one in the evening, we have the challenge of how to share the Eucharist with both parishes. So last year, I hit upon the solution of having someone drive me, with the Eucharist, from St. Mary to St. Boniface. So we did that, following the Divine Mercy chaplet, and my marathon Good Friday was finished at around 4 pm.

But back to the liturgy of Good Friday: it was beautiful! The choir was so good, and they sang the Reproaches during the veneration of the Cross, which I found very moving.

Then we gathered again, for Holy Saturday Morning Prayer, this for the candidates for holy communion and the catechumens, after which we have a rehearsal for the Vigil--which was brief, I've decided there's not much point in going through things too much, folks just worry. I just call folks forward and I get them through it. It worked fine.

After that, rehearsal for the servers--that took time, and God bless our corps of servers for the Vigil, they worked hard, what with all the processions, candle-lighting, helping with sacraments, etc.

After that, began the marathon of getting the church ready. Lots of candles to put out, getting everything set right for the baptisms and confirmations, etc. I finally got my homily together around 4 pm, this time one for the whole weekend--in years' past, I did a different one for the Vigil, but not this year.

Vigil began at 8:30 pm or thereabouts, and it was a bit windy, so we had some trouble with the Easter Candle. Once again, I left on my mic during my commentary, so everyone in church heard me say, "try it this way" and "anyone have a lighter?" We got it going, and we were off to the races.

Father Tom carried the Easter Candle and sang the Exsultet, which is really something considering he was deathly sick last year, Deo gratias! We proclaimed all the readings and you know what? The sky did not fall. I did warn people it would be long, and we had a good crowd, I'd say 250-300. The readers and cantors did really well. Lighting the candles around the altar during the Gloria took too long, but that's my fault--lots of candles!

We had, I think, 11 baptisms, from very young to adults, and then even more confirmations. That took awhile; we are thinking that, for those who aren't to be baptized, but confirmed and/or received into the Church, we will do that at another time.

The choir did well, sang beautifully, as did all God's People, and if I do say so myself, St. Boniface was beautiful. If I can, I'll get a picture up, I had someone take pictures.

We wrapped up around 11:20, so a little short of three hours. A little cleanup afterward, and then home; the sisters invited me over for a bit of wine, but I told them I had a house guest named "Sam Adams"; they didn't get the joke, they aren't beer-drinkers I guess.

Next Mass is 9 am--after this, that's a breeze!

The Lord is risen! Alleluia!


The Digital Hairshirt said...

He is risen, Indeed! Alleluia!

Just reading your post as I unwind from my own Vigil Mass. Everything went without a hitch and for that I grateful to God. Since I was leading the lectors this year, I was worried I did not have the lighting cues correct for our "light man", but whaddaya know, I did, and so the correct lights came on for the readers in an otherwise pitch-black church. I am downloading the Baptism pictures for RCIA and they all appear to be in focus - another reason to thank God!

Happy Easter, Father!

Cath said...

He is risen indeed!

Happy Easter, Father!

TerryC said...

Happy Easter Father,
I might have to confess being envious of your parishioners in having such a dedicated pastor. I hope they realize how blessed they are.
We only had four readings and no Baptisms besides, as well as already doing confirmations at another time.
Well at least there are no shenanigans of the sort that happens at some parishes where I'm at.
For that I'm truly grateful.
Alleluia! He is indeed risen!

Don said...

Wow! I wish my pastor was like you. Although I love the Easter Vigil in general, this year I decided my time was better spent doing some important work for the pro-life movement. I get so tired of watered-down vigils, with only the bare-bones 4 readings and starting out in a church with dimmed lights (but not dark). God bless you for your dedication, and Happy Easter!

Patrick said...

Way to go father! My 2 cents: keep it long! It's supposed to be a vigil... Don't take the profession of faith out of the liturgy for those desiring full communion. It takes mere seconds to confirm them individually, and provides this poor parishioner great joy to see the multitudes entering the flock. I went to one of John Paul II's vigils, and it was over 4 hours long...I think he confirmed about 200.

Puff the Magic Dragon said...

ONe question about Easter Sunday Masses: Can the Easter Sequence be omitted, or replaced with "Sons and Daughters"?

Fr Martin Fox said...


The Easter Sequence is required, not optional, for Easter. I imagine some pastors who omit it, justify doing so because of time constraints. If there is a justification for substituting another text, I am not aware of it, but I'm not an expert in this field.

Anonymous said...

Our Vigil was lovely as well. Two bapized and six confirmed. The baptisms - including our reaffirmation of ouw own baptism vows and the sprinkling with holy water - are very special to me. I've posted my reflections on it on my blog here:

Deacon Pat said...

I enjoyed your blog....... Very much

Joe of St. Thérèse said...

All the readings! That's the way to go. Deo Gratias.