Monday, March 29, 2010

Entering Holy Week

Holy Week: A Sacred Season

Many years ago, in a pre-Vatican II Brooklyn parish Church, I was introduced to fine details and inner workings of Holy Week Liturgy. I was an 8th grade public school girl enamored with her CCD (Confraternity of Christian Doctrine) teacher, Sr. Mary Corita, CSJ. That year Sister decided to invite public school students to join her parish school students and participate in the children's choir which would accompany all of the liturgies of Holy Week with the traditional Latin responses set to Gregorian Chant. I was in awe of her and in awe of the privileged invitation. It was hard work to learn all of the Latin pronunciation and the tones. But I still rmember them and treasure the little book we used with all my chilidishly written pencil margin notes reminding me to go up here and down there.

That experience was a catechetical vehicle for me - creating a sudden explosion of understanding for what seemed arcane and incomprehensible rituals. Why a Eucharistic procession at Holy Thursday Mass? Why the tradition of visiting Churches on Holy Thursday. Why no consecration at Good Friday Liturgy? Why the darkness on Easter eve and the difficult way of creating a fire? Why did the priest plunge that big candle into a huge contatiner of water at Easter Vigil Mass? AND, of course, what did all those Latin prayers mean? By my participation in that choir all the questions were answered and I was invited forever into the mystery and mystical nature of the Easter Triduum.

Today, in the intimacy of the monastic setting that invitation and level of participation is repeated. Many go to monasteries for just that experience. Here is our schedule for this week should you wish to join us.

Holy Thursday - 7pm Liturgy
Adoration at the Altar of Reposition until 12 midnight
Good Friday Liturgy - 3pm
Easter Vigil Mass - 8pm
Easter Sunday Morning Mass - 11am

We will be blessed by the presence of three Redemptorist priests during the Triduum: Fr. Thomas Deely, assisgned to Mt. St. Alphonsus Retreat Center here in Esopus, Fr. Ronald Bonneau and Fr. James Gillmore who share a special mission for Hispanic Catholics in the Diocese of Metuchen, NJ.

The door at our Chapel entrance will be open well in advance of each liturgy. We welcome all who may care to join us. Let us be united in contemplation of the Paschal Mystery

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