Friday, April 14, 2006


Like many Catholics--like many people--I don't like being told what to do. Going to Mass on Sunday is an obligation. Going to Mass on Ash Wednesday and Holy Thursday is something I have to do.

DD#2 came with me. Our pastor, bless him, tried to chant. The choir, and those of us over the age of 50, chanted the responses. We sang the Pange Lingua in Latin and most of the pronunciation came back to me.

"This is the second day in a row I've been to church," she confided.

"What did you do yesterday?" I asked.

"We had Tenebrae," she explained. The church is dark, except for candles. One by one the candles are extingushed, representing Jesus's suffering and burial. There are readings and songs. It's all very quiet, allowing for a time of reflection.

On Thursday, the school held a Passover seder with their Faith Families (there is one child from each grade, K-8, in the family). The oldest boy is the father. The oldest girl is the mother. The Kindergarteners get to ask the questions. The Seder reinforces our faith's Jewish heritage as well as the actions of Jesus and the apostles at the Last Supper.

Tonight we will go to the Good Friday service. And I will proclaim the Second Reading and the Narrator's sections of the Passion. We'll skip the Easter vigil on Saturday, though, and go to the Family Mass on Easter Sunday morning. (I'm proclaiming there, too!) DD#2 volunteered to serve both as well.

Although the older kids--who are really young adults--keep telling me they "don't believe," that the Church is a "cult" and "it's all superstition anyway," it's interesting that they don't kick up a fuss about going to Mass, meatless Fridays, and fasting today. DS#2, in fact, just mentioned, "Oh, shoot! No snacks!" If they do snack, they are tactful enough not to in front of me. (Although DD#1 did pop some popcorn for lunch, which she knows I gave up! DD#2 told me last night, "Lent is officially over. Do you want to celebrate and have some popcorn tonight?" Even though it is, I hold out until Easter Sunday!)

After last night's service, there was the Adoration of the Holy Eucharist on the Altar of Repose. DD#2 and I stayed for a bit and prayed before hurrying home to deal with Life again. Maybe that's why I enjoy the Triduum so much--it gives me a chance to refocus on what my religion is all about, on what I believe. Before He died, Jesus gave us His Body and Blood. He gave us His Mother. He paid our debt to the Father. And then He rose again in triumph over Death and the Devil. He promised to bring us with Him, if we but believe and follow him.

It's all worth remembering, especially once a year.