Monday, April 13, 2009

Triduum and Easter tales

It's Easter Monday and even with some good rest yesterday, I still feel like I need some recovery from Holy Week, so while I should be cleaning the kitchen and packing for the trip and calling FIOS to complain about my missing email account, I am sitting on my beeehind watching Hee Haw.
It was the best Holy Week ever, in my humble opinion. Everything was well planned out and presented thoughtfully and with care. The crowds were bigger this year than last, so much so that we kept running out of worship aids. I loved every minute of it. After Mass an older Italian lady approached me and said "I have one remark." Oh? "The young girl serving Communion was wearing TONGS on her feet!" I said "oh yes, yes she was." She said "That's not appropriate." I said "oh, she's right over there, why don't you go and tell her?" This was not the response she was expecting. "Oh nooo, I don't want to embarrass her. You tell her." I said "ohh nooo, you tell her, she's here a lot, do tell her next time you see her. You definitely should." People have funny ideas about teenagers, including this urge to criticize them from afar. I had a pastor once who approached me (because I was the YM) to complain that the group of kids five feet away from him in the narthex were too loud. I said "go over there and tell them!" Sometimes people just need to be reminded to treat teenagers like the fellow parishioners that they are.
On Good Friday I sat on the tabernacle side of the church, so as to greet at that door and to get good pictures of the cantors who CHANTED the Passion. I've never heard it chanted before and it was really striking. I was noticing how many people genuflected before the tabernacle, which was empty, of course, and the doors were wide open. Catholic habits, you know? Silly, really, to bow to an empty tabernacle, but over and over people came in and did so. I love that our faith becomes so ingrained in us that we develop a kind of muscle memory.
On Holy Saturday, the Vigil was beautiful, and a comedy of errors- there were just a bunch of mistakes made, but our priests and deacon took everything in stride and we all had a lot of fun- who'd have thunk that the vigil could be so fun? At the same time, it was beautiful and spirit-filled.
I broke our tradition of sleeping in and lazing all day on Easter to go in for the 9:00AM Mass. We had a baptism planned, and the deacon had planned a big setting with the children's choir, where they sang throughout the baptism. The family of the little girl was amazed at the care and lengths we went to for their little girl (who was a 5 year old, sweet angelic little girl!) and it really felt like a great example of hospitality at work in evangelization. I knew from speaking with the Dad and Godparents in the preparation for the day that they were feeling called back to faith by the recent loss of the child's grandmother, and wanting their daughter to have a religion- and the look on the father's face throughout the Mass was one of amazement- it was clearly not how he remembered church! Everything went right in the preparation with this family and I hope it continues for them.
After the vigil, one of our priests said to me "you were smiling through the whole Mass! Why? Is it because it's Easter?" Well, yes. It's partly because I find so many things funny, like the ladies seated in front of us who were saying the prayers along with the ministers, straight out of her Magnificat. Co-presiding, if you will. Funny. But also, I was just feeling the joy of being a part of this community. On Sunday morning, I was amazed again by how many people I knew in the pews around me, by how much fun it is to be part of a community like this, by the palpable presence of the Spirit in this place.
Ahh, Easter is here, Christ is risen. Indeed, He is risen!


Her Harlequin said...

I am truly sorry - I'm sure you wrote a beautiful post - but I got as far as the words "Hee Haw" and everything after that came out as "Where where are you tonight, why did you leave me here all alone? I searched the would over and I thought I found true love. You met another and pppfffttt you was gone"

CatholicWizKid said...

Oh Margo. I love your reflections. There was the CUTEST little boy in front of me at the Easter Vigil at my parent's church. He was four years old and totally engrossed for most of the service (except during the homily when he got distracted by his shoelace while the pastor was talking). He kept inching out into the aisle to see what was going on by the altar: he would stand right at the edge and leeaaannn out, and then take a tiny step, and leeaaann out. Then he would rush back to tell his mom.
Sometimes I wonder if I love the Vigil mass so much because I am biased, but it was really something to see this little boy so engaged. There is quite something to these traditions of ours. It was a special blessing because this particular parish I was visiting is not my favorite, and I was running a critical commentary in my head until that little boy brought me back to center. ALLELUIA!