Saturday, 3 April 2010

Highlights From Holy Week...

This year, Lent (and especially Holy Week) has hit hard. The news has been particularly depressing... more on that later, as it needs a separate post (or several posts) in order to address the media storm. Things have been tricky on a personal level as well... but, as everyone was so quick to point out, a lot of people seem to be having a hard time of it, and I should just offer it up.

Not having a car (and, it being the end of the month, not having the dosh to splash out on minicabs) was particularly difficult. Having problems with both my left knee (from a road-traffic accident I had as a teenager, followed by botched surgery and misdiagnoses) and my right ankle (from a more recent accident when I fell down the sacristy steps) means that I am not the most agile person around, and public transport is not kind to the less able-bodied.

By leaving the house at 5:30am on the Monday of Holy Week, I was able to attend the 7am Low Mass at Blackfen before heading off to school... not having had time to work out the various bus timetables meant that I felt rather rushed, but it worked out surprisingly well. On the Tuesday, we had a Missa Cantata in the evening. I just went to church straight from school, having stopped off to buy some chips for dinner. Because the Passion (St. Mark's) was being sung, it was rather longer than a usual Mass... it was extremely moving, however, and the extra time taken didn't register until I checked my watch at the end!

Members of the regular visiting schola came to help with the singing, and one of our very talented servers sang the part of the Synagoga (he also sang the part of the Chronista for the St. Matthew Passion on Palm Sunday) which was pretty amazing. Sadly, I forgot my camera. I did have my little iPhone with me, but the picture quality isn't brilliant, and the sound on the video leaves much to be desired


After helping to clear away, it was time to make my way home. Fortunately, some very kind friends had lent me the use of their second car. It's much, much bigger than my little Hyundai, and was a bit of a shock. The car is equipped with all sorts of buttons, dials and extra electronic controls... and I haven't the slightest idea what they're for. Yesterday, I finally discovered where the control for adjusting the wing mirrors is... I have also discovered that wearing one high-heeled shoe makes the pedals easier to operate.

On Wednesday morning I made my way to church for another early-morning Low Mass. The Passion of St. Luke was read, so Mass was about 10-15 minutes longer than usual. This was rather interesting for me - one of the more common accusations levelled at the usus antiquior is that the faithful didn't get to hear the Bible. However, in the novus ordo, one only gets to hear one Passion account from the Synoptic Gospels (on Palm Sunday) and the one from St. John on Good Friday... whereas in the usus antiquior, all three Synoptic Passions are read during the course of Holy Week.

The journey to school after Mass was a lot easier than the one on Monday morning. The whole thing was, however, catching up with me, and I didn't have the energy to go to Tenebrae in the centre of town later in the evening.

The Maundy Thursday Mass of the Lord's Supper was also in the usus antiquior. This was another "first" for me. It was beautiful, and the joyful contrast with the mournful nature of the rest of the Holy Week services was striking. We also had Vespers as part of the evening celebrations, as well as a more formal stripping of the altars.

Afterwards, there was watching at the altar of repose until midnight.


Sadly, once again, I had forgotten my camera. Still, I just had to take a photo of the altar of repose...

I didn't make it to Stations in the morning. I really regret that, as it feels as if I've played truant...

The Good Friday Liturgy nearly always reduces me to tears. I keep wondering what would have happened if Judas hadn't betrayed Jesus... or if Pilate had put his foot down and ignored the Chief Priests... or if the rabble had called for Jesus to be freed instead of Barabbas...

The young man who sang the Synagoga and Chronista parts earlier in the week also got to read the Synagoga part in the novus ordo, as well as acting as the MC. This time I did have my camera. I took a few pictures, but, of course, there wasn't a proper Mass, so the photo opportunities were rather more limited...

I got a better shot of the altar of repose...

Tonight's Easter Vigil promises to be good. Hopefully the rain will hold off this evening, so we can have a good Easter fire. I will also do my best to remember the camera...

6 comments:

Sirian said...

Sorry to hear things gave been challenging during Holy Week. I do hope you return to regular blogging when all is well.

Miss Ellen E. said...

Beautiful photos, as ever. What an amazing altar of repose!

I hope you get your car sorted out soon and manage to have a bit of a rest over Easter.

gemoftheocean said...

Thanks for the report!

truthfinder said...

Beautiful photos! Thank you!

Rubricarius said...

What a clever phone (and user) to record a video of the wonderful Gospel tone.

Henry Washington, a late and former Director of Music at the London Oratory wrote some poignant lines about its passing in the 1950's changes. He writes that it is almost certainly a tone that would have been used in the chant of the synagogue and is very ancient.


So good to see it make a come-back, in so many places, even the Oratory.

margaret said...

Very, very lovely altar.

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