Last week during the parish mission I had the opportunity to sit in the pews, which I don’t usually do during a service since I am usually sitting in the presider’s chair. One thing I realized is that the presider’s chair is a lot more comfortable. In the mission we were sitting in the pews for about 50 minutes straight and I realized for that amount of time they could get a bit stiff. Fortunately during Mass we are standing or kneeling different times and the longest time you remain seated is during the homily, I think we usually keep those under 50 minutes, but still good for me to be aware of. The more important thing I became aware of is the manner in which our crucifix is so dominant in your view as you look towards the ambo or the altar.
As we celebrate Palm Sunday and enter into Holy Week that is a great opportunity to really focus on the sacrifice Christ made for us. I think this can become something that we are aware of but at the same time be so present that we forget how important, how special it is. If we are sitting in the pews all the time our large crucifix can just become the normal background to our view of the altar. I would ask you to take this opportunity during Palm Sunday and Holy Week to be more aware of the crucifix, both the one we have in the church but also the actual crucifixion of Christ, and the true suffering and death he went through for each of us and our sins.
A special way we have to remind us of this during Holy Week are the Triduum services. Staring on Holy Thursday at 7pm we will be celebrating the Mass of the Lord’s Supper. In addition to remembering the Last Supper in the Gospel reading we also continue what Christ did for his Apostles and have the washing of the feet, reminding us that we are all to be servants of one another, and ending the service in quiet adoration of Christ in the Eucharist. On Good Friday we have two services of the Passion of the Lord, at noon and at 7pm. We again remember Christ’s suffering and death for us and have a veneration of the Cross as a physical reminder for us. On Holy Saturday the service is not to start until a half hour after sunset, so it will begin at 8pm. We have many different physical signs for us at this service, starting with the Eater Fire outside (weather permitting) and then blessing the new Easter Candle and processing into church with each of us having a lit candle. I encourage all to come to this service, the highest of the year, and while it does start late it does not last 3 hours, or even 2, (but it will be more than one) and is a great celebration of the resurrection of
And don’t worry, none of the services have you just on your seats without standing or kneeling for too long.