Monday, 21 April 2014

Sacred Triduum 2014

For the weeks since Ash Wednesday we have been preparing ourselves for the celebration of the Sacred Triduum, the three days during which we are called to reflect on the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.
Thursday evening we gathered in the Relic Chapel for the Mass of the Lord's Supper. Following the Gospel and a homily by Francis Kemsley O.Carm, watched as Francis knelt and washed the feet of 12 members of the congregation as it is described in John's Gospel.  The other three Gospels all describe the institution of the Eucharist; Take this and eat, take this and drink, they are my Body and Blood. John, however, concentrates on the commandment which Jesus gave to his disciples to 'love one another as I have loved you' and this is reflected in the humble action of the washing of feet; I came to serve not to be served'.  After the Mass the Blessed Sacrament was taken in solemn procession to the Choir where an altar of repose had been prepared.  People were invited to remain in silent prayer until midnight when, after Compline, the tabernacle was closed and people departed.

The only celebration on the Friday was the Celebration of the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ.  This solemn event has three parts 1) the Liturgy of the Word including the Passion Narrative from John's Gospel followed by a homily from Michael Manning O. Carm. and the formal intercessions for the Church, the World and the People. 2) This is followed by the veneration of the Cross where all those who wish to are invited to come forward and venerate the cross in their own way, usually a kiss. 3) from Thursday evening's Mass of the Lord's Supper until the Easter Night on Saturday there is no Mass celebrated but to meet the needs of the people the Passion Service ends with the distribution of Communion.  The service ends with a silent procession back to the sacristy while the cross remains on the shrine, flanked with burning candles.  Saturday is then a day of waiting, of reflection and anticipation for the events of the Easter Night.

Saturday evening, after dark, a fire lit up the cloister here and the congregation gathered  for the blessing of the Easter Fire
and the lighting of the Paschal Candle. This involves the scribing of symbols on the wax candle and the insertion of five incense grains. 

Then, using a flame from the Easter Fire the Candle is lit and carried in procession into the Relic Chapel where the Deacon; Paul Jenkins O. Carm proclaims the Exsultet.  There follows an extended Liturgy of the Word during which we welcome back the Alleluia after an absence of six weeks, and the homily by Brendan Grady O. Carm.,  a blessing of water which, in a parish would be used for Baptism, a renewal of Baptismal Promises and the Easter celebration of the Eucharist.

Throughout these days of the Sacred Triduum we a had a large number of visitors some day visitors, some residential and some attending the annual Easter Triduum Retreat, given this year by Sheila Grimwood, Maggie Cascioli and Paul Jenkins O. Carm. and despite the numbers the Friars was a haven of peace for those seeking a little more from their Easter.  Maybe you would like to join us next year.

Friday, 11 April 2014

Born For This

The Relic Chapel at the Friars was full on Saturday 5th April as young people and adults, children and parents, friars and visitors gathered to see and listen to the Stations of the Cross being presented by a group of school students and members of the Southward Catholic Youth Services.  The dramatic presentation followed the traditional way of the cross from the interview with Pontius Pilate to the crucifixion and was part of the outreach work which is a part of the ministry of The Friars, Aylesford especially with the SCYS team at St Vincent's in Whitstable.  All the major characters in the stations were played by young men and women aged and they took there roles very much to their hearts sing and acting in a very real but also prayerful way and the ever present cross which was carried, dragged around the chapel underlined that this was a journey and not a concert.  Everyone was invited to enter into this journey and after the stations all the participants left the chapel in silence obviously reflecting on what they had experienced.  Born For This was also present on Sunday 6th in St Georges Cathedral, Southwark