Holy Week in Isolation

Palm Sunday arrives in six days. It reminds me: ten years ago, I wrote a little meditation, imagining something:

candleWhat if the Church possessed only one ceremony, which occurred just once a year? Namely, the lighting of the Easter candle. What if lighting the Easter candle was the entire Sacred Liturgy of the Church?

Would we persevere in faith, hoping for heaven? With just that one support?

In my little essay, I opined that we would.

I merely hypothesized, of course. I meant only to emphasize the stunning beauty and significance of the lighting of the candle. We believe He rose from the dead. We light the candle to proclaim that faith. The Light of Christ conquers all darkness.

Now we have to live with something which oddly and painfully resembles my purely theoretical consideration of a decade ago. We will have to celebrate Holy Week without coming together.

It’s like running a football play as complicated as this:

football reverse diagram

with only one player. Tossing the ball to yourself in the backfield, twice, then blocking for yourself downfield.

But guess what? We will. We will keep Christ’s Passover, even under the current circumstances.

I will bless palms. A couple co-workers and I will stand outside church at the normal Mass times and hand a palm to anyone who drives by and wants one.

And we will celebrate the ceremonies of Holy Week and try to “livestream” it all. By “we,” I mean: me, the seminarians (if they return from Richmond), our organist/pianist, and a reader or two.

Church will remain open on Holy Thursday night (April 9th) for visits to the Blessed Sacrament. And open on Good Friday night, too, for visits to the Holy Cross. And open Holy Saturday night. For visits to the lit Easter candle.

And the church doors will remain unlocked Easter Sunday morning, also, for visits to the Blessed Sacrament, with the Easter candle lit. Click HERE to read the whole local schedule.

[Advisory. All these best-laid plans of mice and men remain subject to change, should more-restrictive orders be given by the authorities.]

We will persevere in faith, my dear ones. His light shines.

Such is the wonder of His love: He gathers to the feast those who are far apart, and brings together, in unity of faith, those who may be physically separated from each other. –from an Easter letter by St. Athanasius, sixteen centuries ago.

6 thoughts on “Holy Week in Isolation

  1. Amen Father Mark. We may be physically seperated but the parishioners of St Francis of Assisi stand in unity under our loving Lord and unified to that unity by our Pastor.

  2. God bless padre….stay safe… stay well…thank you for staying so connected…as the meme says… this is the lentiest lent i ever lented. Its certainly one for the books.

  3. I wonder why someone who has been so much against former archbishop McCarrick, that he keeps using his hand and ring with the Paschal candle on his blog.

    1. You have sharp eyes. I never really thought about it; just love the picture. May God have mercy on us all.

  4. It is such a blessing to have this wonderful schedule for Holy Week. (I do understand it could change.) My heart is lighter this evening. Thank you.
    Judy Rogers

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