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Holy Week Adventures of a baby deacon

March 26, 2013

Palm Sunday, 11:15am -Decided that it would be busy this morning, so I left early. Turns out that I didn’t leave early enough, got to the Church only 15 minutes before Mass. Parking lot was completely full. Remembered what Fr. Bert Foliot at Our Lady of Lourdes in Toronto once told me: “If you arrive early, you should park further away so that the people who come late can have the spots that are closest to the Church.” Found a spot in the back parking lot.

11:17am  –  The 10am Mass is just ending. Just saw Fr. Boniface and he’s wearing his red stole. Red stole!?! I thought today was purple! Where’s my red stole? At home. I actually own three sets. All three of my red stoles are at home. Too late to go and get it. I hope Deacon Dave lets me borrow his.

11:30am – Mass starts on time. Deacon Dave was nice and let me borrow his dalmatic. Mass starts without a hitch. I proclaim the “Hosanna” Gospel from the back of the Church. Everything is very solemn.
12:00n – I get to read the part of Jesus during the Passion narrative. I am thinking of when I played Jesus during our Good Friday passion reenactment at Our Lady of Lourdes. I used to really get into it. Can I really get into this? When we get to the part when Peter denies Jesus three times and the cock crows, a baby starts to cry in the congregation. Perfect timing.

4:15pm – Arrive at Church again for the Spanish Mass. Brought my red stole this time. Everyone is always running around before this Mass. More so today. Altar servers have questions about holy water and incense. We won’t know the answers until Fr. Juan arrives.

4:45pm – Mass begins on time. Fr. Juan arrived early and everything is going well. This time I get to walk up the aisle sprinkling holy water on people with the palms. But I forgot to read the Gospel and was telling the altar servers to begin the procession when Fr. Juan whispers in my ear, “No, no. The Gospel!” Oh yeah.

6:30pm – Spanish Mass went well. Fr. Juan was on fire with his homily. Very passionate! Mass only lasted just over an hour. Now the youth Mass begins. Deacon Dave stays and both of us will be deacons of this Mass.

7:45pm – Youth Mass is over. During Communion I gave a lady Communion on the tongue and she asked for a second one in the hand. Seriously? I said, “no.”

8pm – Day is over. Good beginning to Holy Week. Left red stole at the church.

Monday: 8:00pm – Practicing the Exsultet. Maybe I can still back out from doing it.

Tuesday: 11:10am – I decided to go to the Chrism Mass at the Cathedral since it’s only two blocks from my work. But I didn’t think I’d be there on time, so I decided not to take my alb and stole. I arrived as the procession was coming around into the Church. It was like a receiving line greeting all the deacons, priests and bishops. Some I had not seen in a while. Good reunion.

11:15am. I follow the procession into the Cathedral. The Church is packed! Why are there so many people here today? Must be because we just had the Conclave and Cardinal Collins is back. I should’ve vested to guarantee a seat!

11:40am – Cardinal Collins gave a great homily. He said that no one has a problem with feeding the hungry and bringing liberty to captives, comforting the oppressed and giving sight to the blind. But how are we called to do that? Jesus calls us to take the road of repentance and to deny ourselves. That’s not easy. He quoted Chesterton: “It’s not that Christianity has been tried and found wanting; it’s that Christianity had been found difficult and not tried.” So true. He also spoke a bit about his Conclave experience. He said that the Cardinals are bound together by love. He said they could feel the communion of prayer from around the world lifting them up.

11:45am – I decided to leave after the homily.

Wednesday: 9:20pm – More details about this Exsultet: Silly me volunteered to sing it at the Easter Vigil. What was I thinking? Who’s idea was it to set this thing to music? It’s 11 minutes long! So now I have to be practicing. I’ve been practicing (rather, learning it) for a week now. It won’t be pretty. It’ll be a good lesson in humility.

Thursday: 11:00am – ♪Exsu-ult, let them exsult, ♪the ho-ost of heeea-ven ♪

6:00pm – Wanted to be at the Church before six to give myself lots of time. I’m about 5 minutes away.

6:45pm – All is set. Figured everything out with Fr. Bernard, Fr. Boniface, Deacon Dave and the servers. I’ll be the Deacon of the Word. No singing or fancy dancy today. But I will help Fr. Bernard with the washing of the feet.

9:11pm – Getting in my car after Mass. Went well. During the washing of the feet people are only supposed to take one shoe and sock off. We only wash one foot. But two of the guys had both shoes and socks off. I guess we’ll have to charge them twice.

I’ve always loved Holy Thursday. Especially the end – I know the tomb is not yet empty, but there is very much this feeling of an empty tomb. I remember doing the Passion at Our Lady of Lourdes and we would end with a procession, taking the body of Christ down from the Cross. Taking the consecrated Hosts out of the church into the special chapel of repose had very much the same feeling. We had about 10 ciboria with Hosts on two trays. Deacon Dave took one and I took the other. The humeral veil is supposed to cover the whole tray. Of course, as soon as I covered my tray, something fell on the floor : one of the little plastic things covering a ciboria that had no lid (what do you call those little plastic thingys that we use to cover the chalice?) and a host. Fr. Bernard picked it up. No worries. Very solemn.

Good Friday: 9:00am – Morning Prayer. I noticed last night that Evening Prayer had a note that said it was only for those who did not attend the Holy Thursday Liturgy. It’s the same for today’s Evening Prayer.

10:15am – ♪Exsu-ult, let them exsult, ♪the ho-ost of heeea-ven ♪

1:00pm – Rehearsal with Jenn from Church who has agreed to help me with the Exsultet tomorrow. It’s coming along. Definitely feeling better about it.

3:00pm – Solemn Celebration of the Lord’s Passion. I’ve always been moved by how the Ordained ministers enter in a silent procession and then prostrate in front of the altar. Today I’ll be one of them.

5:00pm – On my way home. The Veneration of the Cross only took 20 minutes. An improvement from last year.

7:30pm – Watching Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ. It’s worse if you’ve already seen it because you know the flogging is coming and you know how brutal it’s going to be. Always moved by the line when Jesus falls on the way to Calvary and Mary runs to him. He looks up and says, “See Mother, I make all things new.”

Saturday: 11:00am – Rehearsal for Catechumens and Altar Servers. Lots of hustle and bustle in Church. There are seven people being baptised tonight (1 adult, one teen-ager and five small kids). Also, four small kids are being received into the Church. The one adult who is being baptised is also being confirmed. All of them will be making their First Communion.

8:00am – Morning Prayer. Have to remember tonight that there is Evening Prayer for Holy Saturday. Must do it before going to Church tonight.

12:30pm – ♪Exsu-ult, let them exsult, ♪the ho-ost of heeea-ven ♪ Tried it with the microphone at the ambo. Sounding good.

7:15pm – ♪Exsu-ult, let them exsult, ♪ One last bash-through for warm-up with Jenn. I feel like just before a show.

7:45pm – Just remembered Evening Prayer. I forgot. Too late now. Do I have to go to Confession?

8:00pm – Mass begins. Fire outside is good for a BBQ. Everything is very solemn. Church is dark. This is by far the best part: when all the candles are being lit, one by one. My big Exsultet moment is coming up. Trying to channel the spirit of Ted Neely (even though he’s not dead).

8:30pm – ♪Exsu-ult, let them exsult, ♪the ho-ost of heeea-ven ♪ This is it. As soon as I start a baby starts to cry. Thanks.  I am not breathing well. About halfway through I start to hyperventilate (I am not kidding). I used to hyperventilate when I was in second year theatre school. Not sure why. But I learned what it feels like and how to stop it from happening. It’s because of too much oxygen. Sheri was also hyperventilating when she was giving birth to Nicolas. But, in the middle of the song, I am not sure what to do to stop. I guess just plow through.

8:40pm – It’s over. I didn’t pass out. And the baby stopped crying.

9:30pm – Readings end. Gloria begins. This is going to be a long one… Lights come up all at once. So much for gradually bringing them up. Whoah dilated pupils!

10:30pm – All baptised, received and confirmed.

11:00pm – Agnus Dei…  How long will Communion take?

11:15pm – Mass is over. Remembered the one thing that I had not practiced: ” ♪♪ Go in Peace, Alleluya, aaaaaa-lee-luuu-ya ♪ – The choir responds on cue. ♪ Thanks be to God ♪ Alleluya, aaaaaa-lee-luuu-ya ♪

12:30pm – Just had a snack. Wanted a drink but thought better of it. Off to bed. Happy Easter. Christ is risen, Aleluya!

From → English, Reflections

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