To the cross and beyond

Here is your guide to Holy Week and Easter at our 3 Churches…

PALM SUNDAY
Masses at normal times, all to include distribution of palms.
MONDAY
Area Penitential Evening at St Teilo’s 7 – 8pm. Several priests will be present.
TUESDAY
Passover Meal at St Brigid’s; a moving and enjoyable celebration of the Jewish roots of the Mass.
WEDNESDAY
Chrism Mass 11.30am at St David’s Cathedral (note corrected time)
Includes the consecration of sacramental oils and renewal of priests’ promises.

THE SACRED TRIDUUM
MAUNDY THURSDAY
Mass of the Lord’s Supper 8pm at Christ the King followed by watching until midnight. Important themes of the Eucharist, the priesthood and Service of our neighbour.
GOOD FRIDAY
Morning Prayer and Office of Readings at Christ the King
Commemoration of the Passion 3pm at St Paul’s and at Christ the King.
Note there will be children’s liturgy at both of these services.
HOLY SATURDAY
Morning Prayer and Office of Readings at Christ the King
EASTER
Easter Vigil and First Mass of Easter Saturday 8.30pm at St Brigid’s. Includes the Liturgies of Light, of the Word, of Water and of the Eucharist.
We welcome Nicola and daughter Hannah Robson, and Ana Hogg into full communion. Please remember them in your prayers this week.
Sunday Masses at normal times.

Whose shoes?

What on earth was Peter thinking? How did Our Lady cope? What did Simon of Cyrene think about being pulled out of the crowd?

Last week I offered some thoughts about where precisely the events of Holy Week happened – on a donkey, a wooden table, a wooden cross, a stony tomb. This week I’d like to suggest you use your imagination again and put yourself in the shoes of someone involved in Holy Week. Take it slowly. Imagine their background or “backstory” as we say nowadays! What did they feel as they experienced what happened that week in Jerusalem. Look up where they appear in the New Testament, compare the four gospels. Here as some suggestions of people…

The High Priest, one of the soldiers, Pontius Pilate, Herod
Peter, Judas, John the Apostle, Mary Magdalen.
Simon of Cyrene, Nicodemus, Joseph of Arimathea, Veronica (careful, she doesn’t actually appear in the Bible!) What about an average man or woman in the crowd.
And, of course, there is Our Lady.

Put yourself in their shoes and, having maybe read up a bit, let the Lord guide your imagination to help bring Holy Week alive for you. God can work through our imagination as well as any other way.

Maybe you will feel like writing down some of your thoughts. This would be for yourself, of course, though I would be very interested in reading such reflections. Let’s really help our celebration of Holy Week and Easter this year of 2018 come alive.

And, most of all, make every effort to come to the central services of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and

Easter, especially the Easter Vigil and First Mass of Easter.

Fr Matthew

Donkey, Wood, Wood, Stone

It’s now just two weeks to Palm Sunday, and therefore three to Easter Sunday. The services of the Sacred Triduum or Three Days – of Maundy Thursday evening, Good Friday afternoon, Saturday evening and Easter Sunday are best seen as a single feast. These liturgies have a special and memorable character and deserve our best efforts for their celebration. They also deserve the best efforts of all of us to take part in them!

But what about where they took place, these saving events that we celebrate in Holy Week? I mean where specifically…

If you think about it the answer is quite extraordinary. Where was Jesus on Palm Sunday? Yes, he was entering the great city of Jerusalem – but on the back of a donkey! Where did He institute the Eucharist and the Priesthood? Again, in an upper room in that city – but he left us the Sacrament of the new and everlasting covenant on a wooden table, probably bare and rough. Where was the final altar on which He offered himself for us, and for our salvation? A cross of even rougher wood… And finally where precisely did the Resurrection take place, where did the Eternal Father raise His Son from the dead in the power of the Holy Spirit? On a slab of stone in someone else’s sepulchre, in darkness, on His own.

So, on a donkey, a humble wooden table, an even humbler Cross, and on the stony coldness of a grave slab. These are the places where these great moments took place, events which changed the world and brought us salvation. You couldn’t get locations more simple, could you?

So we now have a couple of weeks to prepare for the opportunity to renew our faith at its very sources. What do these profound occasions mean to you? Perhaps remembering their simple locations will help you home in on the heart of Holy Week. This in turn will help you home in on the heart of our Faith. What do you make of a God who triumphs on a donkey, gives us the gift of himself on some wooden planks, dies on some others, and rises on cold, dark stone?

Familiarise yourself with the services beforehand, reflect on the readings, and make every effort to come to the churches where they take place. Most of all, watch Jesus in this holiest of weeks, because this – all of this – was done for you!

Fr Matthew