Fr Ian looks back at the liturgies of Holy Week and the Great Three Days this year
The worship of Holy Week and Easter enters deeply into the imagination, mind and soul. It is a time to let this happen, and so be nourished spiritually with the sacred signs, sacraments and symbols of this holy time. Some of the most poignant moments are familiar to all, and were for me again this year. They include the sense of togetherness (‘team work’) in the experience of the worship, the washing of feet, the watch at the altar of repose, the desolation of Good Friday, light and dark of the Easter Vigil, and the singing of the Exsultet.
Some moments are particular to the year and to the individual. I thought I would share some of my resonant moments of this year, and in doing so encourage others to consider what resonated for them.
The darkness and lament of Tenebrae: Having suffered a recent close bereavement I found the laments sung in Tenebrae allowed me to bring deep feelings forward in prayer, and doing this was comforting in the serenity and darkness of the liturgy.
People at prayer in the Watch: I experienced a feeling of solidarity in prayer at the Maundy Thursday watch, not only with those at prayer in church but also with Christians around the world who were praying at the same time.
Maria Desolata: Patty Wickman’s Passion Painting which formed part of our devotion on Good Friday evening had a significant effect on me. Here was Mary back at home asleep, as it were, on Good Friday. However, her sleep was calm. It was a sleep which inspired and tried to begin to give meaning and hope to the devastating events.
Solemn Te Deum: After we’d received Communion at Mass on Easter Day we had a new feature at Mass – a singing, with lashings of incense, of the Te Deum, an ancient song of praise of the Church, sung with lots of Alleluias. The joy of the singing, the beauty of the church and people together and the strength of the worship was wonderful and uplifting.