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Friday, 6 April 2007

Children and the Triduum

There were more people at the Maundy Thurdsay Mass and the Good Friday Liturgy of the Passion. Confessions have gone well, too - I have been kept busy after Mass and the services all week. By the time we get to the Easter Vigil, I'll have spent over six hours hearing confessions during Holy Week. I know many parishes in the USA make this look like small beer but for a moderate sized English parish it is very encouraging.

On Good Friday morning, I have two set of Stations. First there is one especially for children. I have adapted and partly re-written the Stations from the St Joseph picture book series. The children are encouraged to make a cross themselves or to bring a favourite crucifix from home. (The "making" bit gets some of the dads and grandads involved, of course.)

We have the traditional verse and response at the beginning and genuflect for each station. The older children read the consideration and then I say the prayer. Then we say the St Alphonsus act of contrition (so all the children have more or less learnt it by the time we get round.) At the end, I talked to them a little about indulgences and about how the Stations can help us to avoid sin and love our Lord more.

This event is very popular and the Church is full of young families. Soon after, we have the traditional Stations as written by St Alphonsus. The choir sing a polyphonic Stabat Mater beforehand, we sing the English verses after each Station and there is a motet after we have knelt in silence at the twelfth station. We end with Faber's "O come and mourn with me awhile" which is one of those gloriously moving devotional hymns.

There was a sanctuary full of servers for the afternoon Liturgy. The servers absolutely love the Triduum and so do the children who come along. (We will have lots of youngsters again tomorrow for the Vigil.) I think the favourite jobs so far have been the two thurifers who get to walk backwards for the Blessed Sacrament procession at the end of the Maundy Thursday Mass.
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