Holy Week 2022

Jesus Christ's triumphal entry into Jerusalem

In two days is Palm Sunday and then the profoundly mysterious Holy Week containing ceremonies that we celebrate just once a year. I have to look through the ceremonies in case I have become “rusty” since last year. The space I have to do them in is radically reduced since last year. I have the tiny chapel, the landing on the top of the stairs and my library / bedroom.

Like last year, for my New Fire, I use an old cauldron with a bunch of candles glued with molten wax into a jam jar lid. It gives a small fire, but which is possible indoors without producing smoke or danger of burning the house down!

Palm Sunday will be quite straightforward with a simplified blessing of the palms and some chant from the Sarum books. The Passion of St Matthew will be read in English. Maundy Thursday is also straightforward, followed by the stripping of the altar. In the Use of Sarum, we don’t have the Altar of Repose on Maundy Thursday, but the Easter Sepulchre on Good Friday. That will be set up on the chapel window sill. I have the wooden crucifix for the Good Friday adoration of the Cross.

My Paschal Vigil will take a lot of thinking through, from the blessing of the fire and the procession of the single / triple candle from which the Paschal Candle will be lit during the Exsultet. I will read the four Prophecies from a simple metal foldable music desk. The first Mass of Easter will follow the Litanies which are quite different from the Roman one.

The alternative is to go to a Dominican-style community here in the Mayenne, the Fraternité de Saint-Vincent Ferrier. They use the old Dominican rite, similar to Sarum – – – but, they are Roman Catholics – traditionalists – and I am not. There is nothing wrong with attending services, but I fear their questions. Should I go in my cassock or completely anonymously, looking like an eccentric layman? They are good men, but they are what they are, and I am what I am, a worm and no man. Frankly I prefer to avoid the total humiliation and wonder if it would even be good for my soul! They know who I am, and I prefer to avoid the old shadows, bitterness and self-annihilation.

I shall worship in spiritual and sacramental communion with my Archbishop, with Bishop Damien and the ACC in the UK, with my brother priest in the Netherlands. I will serve in the dignity of my priestly vocation, in empathy with the suffering Christ and all who suffer and die with him at this moment. The Church is a sacramental mystery, not a political authority. She subsists even where the links are invisible and difficult to discern. The Mass and the Office build those invisible links of Communion that go far beyond institutions and human ambition. To stay in my little corner will do much more good.

I wish you all a blessed Holy Week from my tiny chapel and my solitude, asking your prayers in this wonder of the liturgy.

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5 Responses to Holy Week 2022

  1. Stephen K says:

    Yes, today is Palm Sunday and Holy Week begins. I find it consoling to consider the collect prayer from the Book of Common Prayer. Almighty and everlasting God who of thy tender love towards mankind hast sent thy Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ to take upon him our flesh and to suffer death upon the cross that all mankind should follow the example of his great humility: Mercifully grant that we may both follow the example of his patience and also be made partakers of his resurrection. The same prayer in different wording is found in the Liturgy of the Hours.

    I reciprocate your wishes and extend to all co-readers the same.

  2. wayne pelling says:

    I wish you Father a Blessed Easter ,,. The ACC , that you belong to ,has a church in the East of our State and itvis a long way from me here in the Yarra Valley Australia so I worship at the local Anglicans Church of Australia I do not know what has happened to the local TAC that Fr Graham Mitchell use to belong to.

  3. Nick says:

    I really enjoy your blog and sympathise with your situation. I wish you a good Holy Week and will pray for you.

  4. Rubricarius says:

    I am sure you will find a way to solve the practical issues your new circumstances dictate. The old adage ‘where there is will there is a way’ comes to mind.
    Have a very happy Easter!

  5. Martin Hartley says:

    From one hermit to another.
    May the presence of the living One be always with you. May the Resurrection be a power in your life.
    May the Holy Spirit bless and encourage your ministry

    Happy Easter Father

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