Holy Week has been quite special this year. On Palm Sunday, in addition to our Saturday evening and two Sunday Masses in the newer form, we had our usual Mass in the usus antiquior but this year with the sung Passion. It took quite a while but was a great thing to be able to do. Another lengthy liturgical marathon was Tenebrae at Maiden Lane to which several parishioners came, including several boys who sat (and fidgeted a bit) in choir. The Gregorian chant was complemented by the responsories being sung by the Cantores Missae (Director Charles Finch) to the setting by Victoria. Afterwards, Charles kindly gave me a copy of their CD of music sung at a Mass in honour of St John Fisher and St Thomas More. this includes the Byrd 4-part Mass which is one of my favourites. They sing one voice to a part which gives a great clarity to the individual lines.
I have mentioned the Chrism Mass already. It was a good opportunity to catch up with people. Musically speaking it will have been nirvana for lovers of Marty Haugen but it was not the highlight of the week for me.
Having confessions after Mass on Tuesday and Wednesday and after Maundy Thursday Mass was certainly a good idea. Our (newer form) Maundy Thursday Mass began at 8pm and was over (including the stripping of the altar) by 9.15pm. I eventually came out of the confessional at twenty to eleven, leaving me time for a quick cup of tea before joining the last hour of adoration.
On Good Friday, we have Stations of the Cross for children at 10am. I encourage the children to bring a home-made cross or crucifix. They walk along with me in a procession that is probably as well-ordered as those in Jerusalem and at the end I give a little talk on the Passion. Above you can see a photo of a few of the families afterwards. Below you can see children playing a game which used to be called "He" when I was at school. Perhaps the PC crowd have been at children's games because they now laugh at me and say that it is called "It".
I also managed to get a nice photo of one of the more junior members of the congregation whom I baptised not too long ago:
After the children's Stations, we have the St Alphonsus Stations at 11am, followed by more confessions. Some of the children stayed for both; and some of them also came back for the Liturgy of the Passion in the afternoon to venerate the cross. More confessions and then a little bit of a break since there is no major liturgy until the Vigil tomorrow night. But there will be more confessions beforehand ...