Easter is what makes all the rest of the days in the year worth living. It is the day that Christianity was born. Christmas would not matter at all if that tiny little Baby had not arose on Easter morning. He would have just been another great prophet. He would not have been our Lord and Savior...we would have nothing to celebrate.
Easter is a very busy time around here. The weeks before Easter we spend extra time at choir practice, we spend extra time in prayer and fasting, we spend extra time repenting for all our sins that are nailing our Lord to the cross this day.
The Easter Triduum, celebrated by my church, began last night on Holy Thursday.
Lent is now over and the Triduum has begun. At our parish, we start off the celebration each year with a pot luck supper after which we attend Mass. In our church, Holy Thursday Mass is celebrated with the washing of the feet. We follow our Lord's example and become servants to each other. Holy Thursday is when we (the Catholic church) commemorate the Eucharist, the Priesthood and the Mass, all of which were instituted by Christ at the Last Supper. You can learn more about Holy Thursday, also known as Maundy Thursday here. The Mass is a celebration of Christ's life up to this point, he has not yet been betrayed by Judas, and Jesus and his apostles are all together celebrating Passover. The Mass ends very solemnly. We sing the Pange Lingua ( a cappella) as the Priest processes through the church with the Holy Eucharist to place it in another location until we receive it on Good Friday. This is because we do not celebrate Mass again until Easter. It is during Mass that the Bread is consecrated and becomes the Body of our Lord. The Priest consecrates enough Bread at this Mass to allow us to receive our Lord at Good Friday Service also.
Today, we celebrate the Death of our Lord. Celebration sounds like a strange word for me to use when speaking of death but that is, in fact, what it is. It is a solemn celebration, however, with a liturgical service that includes the reading of the Passion according to the Gospel of John. We, as Catholics, fast for the 3 hours our Lord was dying on the cross for our salvation. I will not eat nor drink, except water, between noon and 3 pm this day. Much of that time period will be spent in church contemplating a love so amazing... so divine. You can learn more about the Good Friday Liturgy here.
This year, our Associate Pastor, is incorporating another celebration to be held this evening called the Tenebrae. This will be my first experience celebrating the Tenebrae. Father Robert is very pleased that the choir is helping with this celebration which begins in complete darkness and consists of 15 different psalms are chanted using the Gregorian melodies and tunes. After each psalm a candle is lit until all 15 candles are providing the only light in the church. It is a "funeral service" for our Lord. I am looking forward to it.
The last celebration, for me, will be after sundown on Holy Saturday when we celebrate the Easter Vigil Mass. This Mass will start in our parish at 9 pm. It will last approximately 3 hrs. We will welcome all of our new catechumens , who will receive all the Sacraments that will allow them to become full members of the Catholic church.
Easter Sunday, for me will be spent getting ready to celebrate by having a feast with family and friends.
Frank will be singing at Mass on Easter morning.
Well, this post took much longer than I anticipated. It is time for Nancy to arrive and for my day to begin.
Ting informed me last night that Tony's father, stepmom and brother will be joining us for Easter dinner, so I need to make 3 more place setting eggs. I would like to get my nails done before this afternoon's service. I have to get the house straightened and ready for Tamie to clean and I want to steam clean my carpet in between this afternoon's service and the Tenebrae this evening.
I better get moving!!