Apr 12, 2012
Catching Our Breath Post Easter...
We hope that Holy Week and the Triduum was a blessed experience for all. A big thank you to all those who work in parish ministry for making Lent, Holy Week and Easter Weekend so meaningful. It's easy to take for granted something that we experience year in and out but these things don't just happen. To the volunteers, pastoral staff, clergy, choir members, lectors, servers and all those who help tell the story of our faith, we're most grateful.
Hopefully there's an opportunity for a little down time for those who have been working so hard to support our faith community. My own Holy Week/Triduum was as busy as ever this year. Having said that, it seems that it's just been one big blur since the January 6th announcement of Archbishop Collins elevation to the College of Cardinals (see photo of Cardinal Collins greeting parishioners after Easter Sunday services above).
A few of the more interesting experiences this past week or so:
1) Having the opportunity to chat for two hours with our seminarians in their final years of formation regarding effective communication especially as it relates to the parish level as well as a primer on working with the media, opportunities/pitfalls, etc. While it's never easy speaking after lunch, add to that the last day of classes for the year - we still managed to have a very interesting discussion and best of all, no one fell asleep!
2) Some random interview requests, which isn't unusual, during Holy Week including a discussion on CBC Radio about the Christian origin of Hot Cross Buns (didn't expect that one when I woke up in the morning), discussing the Pope's comments at the Chrism Mass in Rome, the usual Easter Weekend stories regarding church attendance/significance of Good Friday & Easter Sunday as well as a request for comment on the "blue" language used in certain sports circles (we politely declined that one). We also had a media request on Holy Thursday at 1:30 p.m. for the Easter Sunday homilies of all 200 + parishes. Not sure if the media outlet recognized that not all of our clergy have these homilies typed out, much less ready to go on Holy Thursday given the crush of Holy Week services. It's nothing but not interesting to pick up the phone on any given day.
3) Attending services at St. Michael's Cathedral is always special - this Good Friday, the church was at capacity by 2:15 p.m. and all Easter Sunday Masses were filled to the rafters. As the cathedral currently undergoes renovations, it's clear that the additional 200+ seats that will be in place at some point in the not too distant future (the new choir loft) will be welcomed with open arms, especially during significant days on the Christian calendar.
In past years, speakers outside the Cathedral would provide sound for those unable to make it into services over Easter Weekend. Unfortunately, with the extensive scaffolding up and work being done on the church, the speaker wires were disconnected, leaving the speakers inoperable this time around. That said, at least 150 people stood outside the Cathedral throughout the Good Friday service, quietly reflecting even though they were unable to hear what was going on inside.
I was trapped for a few minutes outside myself, conducting an interview as the service began and eventually winding my way back in to help with some of other cameras positioned inside the church. I couldn't help but wonder though, was there a way to pastorally respond to the folks outside? Should we have started the recitation of the rosary or the Stations of the Cross?
While it's impossible to know the size of crowd, how the weather will cooperate, how many will remain outside if there is no sound whatsoever, it gave me reason to pause. How to reach the scattered? I was also amazed at the witness from those who remained outside - no sound, no awareness of where we were in the service but there to remember the fallen Christ. What a powerful witness.Then I started thinking about Pope Benedict's theme for this year's World Day of Communications - silence and the gift that it can bring in our own journey. Maybe this was exactly what was needed, steps away from the Eaton Centre, Dundas Square and the hustle and bustle of the city. Silence.
If you'd like to listen to Cardinal Collins' homily on Good Friday, click here. You can also listen to his Easter Sunday homily by clicking here.
So while the story remains the same year in and out, somehow each Lent, each Holy Week, each Easter Weekend allows us to rediscover our faith in new and profound ways. This year was no different and for that, there's much to be thankful for...indeed He is risen!