I`m just beginning to recover from the exertions of Holy Week and a bad cold. I was very pleased with the turn out for the Maundy Thursday Mass here at St Mary`s considering it can be the least well attended of the three days. On Good Friday the church was not full I`m sorry to say. The Easter vigil attracted a slightly smaller congregation than a normal vigil Mass but on Easter Sunday morning the church was packed to standing room only with some people taking themselves upstairs to sit in the choir loft.
A highlight this year was having a full team of servers for all the Triduum who go from strength to strength. The serving team was really organised by Fr Mark Withoos who introduced me to the idea of a servers` evening which involved an hour`s practice including rigorous instruction in how to genuflect properly, to hold the hands joined and how to approach the altar, followed by pizzas and entertainment. After Fr Mark got things started we now carry on without him as he is no longer in the area. I am greatly helped by two of the mothers of the servers, Ann and Alison, who come to the training evenings and are in the sacristy on a Sunday morning to ensure everyone knows what they are doing. Although the sanctuary at St Mary`s is now very small and not really suited to having servers (there is no room for them to sit on the sanctuary so they have to sit in the front row of the church) their knowledge of what to do has grown and the latest thing we introduced was having torchbearers for the Eucharistic prayer which now happens every Sunday. I know they should not leave until after Communion but if they continued to kneel before the altar during Communion there would be no room so they go back to sacristy at the Our Father. This also has the benefit that the thurible stays there after this point as a number of parishioners appear to have problem with incense.
So Holy Week went very smoothly. I was also the celebrant at a 1962 Good Friday service at 5pm. Unfortunately while I had allocated half an hour for a rehearsal I found I had forgotten the ombrellino and part of the photocopied service sheet and so had to come back here to get it which meant there was almost no time for a rehearsal and the ceremonies were somewhat confused. However the large schola sang very well and I was very pleased to be able to hear the Reproaches and a shortened version of the Pange lingua. I was keen to use the new Good Friday prayer for the Jews as it showed the Pope taking an active interest in the 1962 missal and showing it is part of the mainstream liturgy of the Church. However parts of the 1962 liturgy are irritating: the said Our Father is very strange. Also the use of the black cope for the Solemn Prayers seems rather odd. However as I couldn`t see any other celebration of the 1962 Good Friday happening in this diocese or a neighbouring diocese I though it was important to offer it for those who asked.