First of all, I must apologise for the break in continuity of these reflections, due largely to the busy schedule we have been following in the friary, beginning even before Holy Week. If I may make bold to offer the comparison! I feel like the apostles coming down from Mount Thabor after the experience of the Transfiguration.
For Holy Week, this year saw a kind of transfiguration of the church and grounds with the preparations for the outside broadcast of the Good Friday and Easter Vigil ceremonies on RTÉ, the national TV and Radio channel. Large trucks parked outside our buildings unloading all sorts of lights, cameras, cables, and sound equipment, with busy workers spending hours readying things for our two big days.
Days beforehand, there was a prerecording of the introductory segment, involving myself as speaker and a medley of lovely images of the Stations of the Cross and friary gardens. Then there were the practices each day with everyone present, choir, readers, servers, and celebrants. The practice for Holy Saturday took over three hours that afternoon from 5pm to 8pm. But it was worth it in the end as everything fell into place.
Well, nearly everything! Since the practice for the Easter Vigil took place in bright daylight, we were not ready for the challenge of reading the lessons and prayers in the dark, since the service was going out live at 11pm. But our readers managed heroically and gave a sterling performance accompanied by the wonderful choir of St Finian’s College, Mullingar. The friar celebrants didn’t do too badly either, according to some reports! And I would like to thank so many good souls watching who send messages of congratulations ever since.
We were also very lucky with the weather in Holy Week, especially on Good Friday when the ceremony took place outside under the hill of Calvary. The lighting of the fire on Saturday night caused some concern as well, with the possibility of rain and on the night, a strong breeze. Still, the Easter Candle was lit and stayed lighting to the relief of all. Some people attributed the good weather to the intercession of the Child of Prague, whose statue, when out overnight, is said to guarantee a good day following!
On the community front, you will be glad to know that Fr John has been discharged from hospital and is now settling in to our Nursing Home beside the friary, where he is being well looked after. Hopefully, he will recover successfully from his recent setback and return to a quiet life in the friary.
Thank you for your prayers so far and please keep them up.
If there is one lesson we might learn from our Holy Week adventure, it is that it is in the darkness that we really need to practice our faith, not just in the daylight when everything is going well and looks fine! But God is very much with us in the darkness too, leading us into the light of Christ.
Happy Eastertide! Lumen Christi! Alleluia!