This year, I celebrated two Masses each day from Monday to Wednesday of Holy Week so that we could offer both forms of the Roman rite. On Monday and Wednesday we had Low Mass at 7am and on Tuesday a Missa Cantata in the evening. The Chronista for St Matthew's Passion on Sunday and Synagoga for St Mark's Passion on Tuesday was a young man who is taking his GCSEs this year. His teacher was talking about St Mark's gospel on Tuesday and he mentioned that he was singing the St Mark's Passion in Latin in the evening. I think that made an impression!
For the Triduum, we had Maundy Thursday in the usus antiquior and we have Good Friday and the Easter Vigil in the novus ordo. (That will keep everyone annoyed!) I hear confessions after all the services in Holy Week and the Triduum and find that this is a better option than having a "Penance Service" since it encourages people to return to the practice of regular confession in the usual manner. (If anyone is still plagued by the misleading rubric of the 1970 Missal - which has been changed - see the post Let's smash this old chestnut once and for all.) I was in the confessional until 11.15pm after the Maundy Thursday Mass and for quite some time after Stations and after the afternoon Liturgy today. It was great to see a wide range of ages in the queues.
For Good Friday this morning, I led the Stations of the Cross twice. The second one is the traditional St Alphonsus stations, but before that, I have Stations especially for children: this is one of the highlights of the devotional year. The children are invited to make a crucifix to bring along; this is something that incidentally tends to get the Dads involved. One little boy also brought along a model of a brontosaurus. I refused to be fazed by this and commented in my ferverino that Our Lord is the King of all creation. We all prayed for Pope Benedict with the intention of gaining the plenary indulgence so I hope there will be many very happy holy souls today.
Our Paschal Candle did not arrive until lunchtime on Maundy Thursday, having been ordered a month previously. When I opened it, I found that it was broken into three pieces and completely unusable. Having confidently told everyone not to worry, I was rather wondering what we might do. Then the Lord gave me a little "light" last night prompting me to ask one of our families to solve the problem. They are working hard at refurbishing and decorating last year's candle so that it looks like new. My builders have the task of getting the new fire ready. They have only recently taken the gas canisters away after laying down new felt on the roof and so I think they know a thing or two about getting a fire going.