Friday, March 21, 2008

and with that the Holiest of Seasons begins

So tonight begins, well last night technically, as it is past midnight, therefore making it Good Friday, the holiest of seasons, the Easter Triduum. Hearing the Gloria for the first time in 40 days and having happier music made me smile from ear to ear. Fr. Brian gave a wicked homily, and I wish I had a tape recorder so I could listen to it again. He went right with the Rubrics aka the rule book for Mass and spoke about the institution of the Eucharist, the institution of the Priesthood/holy orders, and charity/brotherhood of Jesus. Told ya he took it right from the Rubrics, he told us himself.

Fr. Brian spoke of Fr. Cantalamessa aka the preacher to the Papal household, as Fr. Brian said, that's something I want on my business card, not that where I am now isn't important, but really preacher to the Papal household. Having read Fr. Cantalamessa's Mary: Mirror of the Church and used in in my senior thesis, I knew the comment would be good. Alas, the comment I am thinking of didn't come from Fr. Cantalamessa, I can't remember the comment from him and that sucks for me, I think it had something to do with the priesthood, but alas I do not remember. It was a good comment I just don't remember it.

The comment I am thinking of came from some theologian from Notre Dame, I probably remember it because I thought "oh man Notre Dame, hope it's correct." I am fully aware that is the wrong way to think, but I did, so forgive me, it's what Jesus would/will do. Anyway, the comment was about the Sacred Triduum being about mystery not history. Mainly because the historical events of the Triduum can not take place again. Again my brain went to, "ummm yeah it does, every Mass is the re-presentation of the sacrifice of Calvary, so therefore it takes place again, albeit the un-bloody version of the sacrifice. It being said makes sense, but I tend to be literal in the Triduum, in the whole idea that Jesus isn't in the Church even though He's just hiding out in a different spot instead of the tabernacle. To me every Good Friday Jesus dies again, He goes down to Hell and on Easter Saturday night at the vigil He rises. I agree that we can never be in the Garden, on the Cross or in the Tomb with Jesus again, we are celebrating the mystery and that is what makes the Sacred Season so awesome.

Fr. Brian spoke about the institution of the Eucharist, and how we as Catholics are taught to believe that it is Christ's Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Holy Eucharist. He mentioned that is also a mystery and that we can receive Communion until we are "blue in the face" but until we accept the mystery into our lives and try to live it out, it's almost pointless. He of course went right in the the institution of the Priesthood/holy orders. Fr. Brian mention that behind him the ordained ministers of Deacons and Priest had over 90 years combined of service to the church. He spoke about each man, Deacon Jerry with his 9 years, Deacons George and Tony with their 13 years and our "Archdeacon" Dick with 22 years of service and of Msgr. George with is 27 years of service. Each man does a different ministry, each an important ministry, feeding the poor via the social services ministry, hospility and burying the dead, and comforting the sorrowfull, teaching CCD and pre-cana, Baptismal prep, and well just about everything under the sun that a priest could do, Msgr. has done it. Fr. Brian decided that his not even 5 years of service couldn't compare to his fellow priest and deacons.

I beg to differ in the 6 months that I have known Fr. Brian, I keep thinking, as much I loved Fr. Kevin, I love Fr. Brian and he reminds me of well me, and to some that is strange, but I know that Fr. Brian will not mess with the Rubrics, is very pro-life and very much wants to get something started. He's also a fan of youth and young adult ministry. Like I said he reminds me of me, and it does me good to have a man like him at my parish. Fr. Brian mentioned that through charity we are all called to partake in Christ's priesthood, we are all called to the things these men and their wives have been doing for the past 20 years.

Very rarely do I remember more than one aspect of the homily, so I took the opportunity to blog about it.

Mass itself was beautiful as usually, I would expect no less from a man who won't veer from the Rubrics. There are nit-picky issues that I have, which would be women having their feet washed, I've never agreed with that, as the Gospel reading once you get past Judas being the betrayer being read for at least the third time this week, speaks of Jesus washing the feet of the Apostles, and last time I checked those were 12 guys. I think if Jesus washed His mother's feet that one of the Gospel writers would have written that down. Alas I can really overlook that and move on until next year.

This year as in the past when the priest is processing around the Church with the Blessed Sacrament to move Jesus to the "garden" liturgical ministers are invited to partake in the procession. I never partake because I'd just rather kneel as Jesus passes me by instead of walking around church, the focus is supposed to be on Jesus not those of us behind Him. I partook this year, mainly because our Pastoral Associate, was sitting next to my parents and wouldn't let me sit or kneel. The whole time we walked around the Church, I kept thinking I want to do this on my knees, and for some reason my right knee, the knee on which my ACL was repaired, was sore as hell throughout the walk, I couldn't wait to get back to my seat. As I made my way back to my seat, the usual screwing up of the verses happened. Without fail the choir and the cantor sing a different verse of Pange Lingua/Tantum Ergo. My understanding is that as soon as the Blessed Sacrament hits the altar steps, which means the altar servers, that we start Tantum Ergo, which is what our cantor did. I laughed because I thought, every year this happens, have you not figured it out yet. Again something I eventually get over until the next time it happens.

What bugged me this year was the forcing me to partake in the procession around Church, it's just not me. In the long run it's not that big of a deal, but it just erks me that some people force on you what they think should be done.

What I love about Holy Thursday night is our version of Adoration, Jesus is hanging out in the "garden" put simply He is moved to a tabernacle that is surrounded by flowers thereby making it the Garden in which Jesus has asked his Apostles to pray and where He is betrayed. Normally I stay from the end of Mass say 9pm until the end at 11:45pm, this year I helped out with the decorating of the gym for our overflow Mass at 12:15pm for Easter Sunday, which was funny because this will be my 6th Mass in the gym so you would think I know where things go, but alas I don't always know everything, it worked out in the long run.

So I came home for about 10 mintues just long enough to eat some toaster strudels so I wasn't starving on my day of fast on Good Friday. I tend to not eat, expect for one big meal, much to the disliking of my mother. I went back to Church for some time with Jesus. Fr. aka Msgr. George had a new cd for Adoration, but it must have stopped at some point because it wasn't on when I went into church. I took that as the ok to turn my iPod on in one ear (the ear away from my mother) so I could listen to some of Matt Maher's songs like his Litany, I Love You Lord, and Adoration, all quite appropriate for Adoration. Once those were over I put the iPod away and proceeded to try and meditate or least get myself into a one on one conversation with God. It's hard to do with all the different noises around, but it works for the most part.

While sitting at Adoration, I kept thinking of a book I just read about how 12 guys became priests, and I thought, how cool would it be to know the stories of 12 priests who have touched my life and how they became priests. I thought at first oh 12's a lot, well I had 7 within seconds. Fr. Brian, Fr. George, Fr. Kevin, Fr. Geno, Fr. Bill, my other Fr. Brian, then I added Bishop Serratelli, Fr. Devin (a priest from my youth), Fr. Jim from SHU's campus ministry, Fr. Deneheny, (I totally got the spelling wrong, but oh well), that's 10 right there, Fr. Brando makes 11, and I can't think of whom I thought of in church, but Fr. Jim from Montclair's campus ministry is coming to mind since I just read his homily blog. So that's 12 right there, I'm thinking that would a great vocations tool, to have the story of 12 ordinary guys and their vocations. I don't care if they are just men, really anyone's story of a vocation will influence one discerning a vocation. St. A's tried something like that before, but I don't know if it worked to well, might be worth looking into.

The idea of writing/editing a book has long been on my mind, but I never really didn't anything about it. Maybe now is the time to do so. Maybe that's my vocation, to foster vocations. I've always said, I'd gladly give all of my sons to the priesthood, should God grace me with marriage and children.

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