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The Southern Cross : March 2012
www.thesoutherncross.org.au The Southern Cross March 2012 Page 11 worship | On the evening of Holy Thursday, April 5 we begin the Easter Triduum, the high point of the liturgical year. Ilsa Neicinieks rsm from the Office for Worship takes us through the main elements of the Triduum liturgies. The word 'triduum' means "three days" and each day goes from evening to evening, concluding on Easter Sunday evening. The major liturgies of the Triduum are the Mass of the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday evening, the Passion of the Lord on Good Friday afternoon and the pivotal celebration of the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday evening followed by other Easter Masses on Easter Sunday. In the early Church, there was only one Easter ceremony and that was the Easter Vigil. By the fourth century it was also the primary occasion for Christian initiation, where the newly baptised celebrated their "passover" to new life in Christ. Later, the celebration of Christ's death and resurrection was extended over three days, as it is now, but celebrated as one long feast. In the words of Fr Frank O'Loughlin, an Australian liturgist: "on Holy Thursday we are celebrating the same Mystery of Jesus' death as we are on Good Friday and at the Easter Vigil. In each we are celebrating the death and resurrection of Jesus from a different perspective." These days could therefore be called 'the three days that are one' with each liturgy of the Triduum flowing seamlessly into the next. For example, there is no final blessing or dismissal on Holy Thursday, no formal opening or dismissal for the Passion of the Lord on Good Friday and no usual greeting for the Easter Vigil. On Holy Thursday the central symbols are broken bread, shared wine and footwashing. By means of the Eucharist given to us by Jesus on that first Holy Thursday, we receive Christ's Body and Blood and wash each other's feet to remember that as his disciples, all of us are called to nothing less than to love and serve as he did. To link this night with Good Friday and the Easter Vigil, the cross venerated on Good Friday could be carried in at the entrance procession since the entrance antiphon proclaims: "We should glory in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ in whom is our salvation..." This night too, we must receive Communion only from bread and wine consecrated at this Mass -- not hosts from a previous Mass. Hence the empty tabernacle! On Good Friday, the chief symbol of Christ's abundant love is the cross. The veneration of the cross is therefore the high point of the liturgy on this day and should be available to everyone. There should be just one cross, preferably without a corpus, since we are not re-enacting the funeral of Jesus but the victory of the cross as the central symbol of Christian faith, and God's reconciling love. The cross should be large, allowing people to approach it from several points at once. People should feel free to venerate it in whatever way they wish, and the hymns should capture the Mystery in its fullness -- both death and victory. The Word of God in all the liturgies of the Triduum deserves to be proclaimed by the best readers with the assembly listening, all eyes fixed on the ones proclaiming the Good News. The liturgy of Good Friday is not a passion play. The Gospel is read so that we can enter as prayerfully as possible into the event and the meaning of Christ's death for each of us -- not take on the role of the crowd who called for his death! The Communion rite on this day connects us with the Mass of Holy Thursday at which those hosts were consecrated, and points us to the Mass of the Easter Vigil which is the pivotal liturgy of the Triduum. There is no liturgy during Holy Saturday. It has been called "the longest day -- the day of God's defeat". Are we able to embrace the stillness of this day instead of crowding it with the usual distractions? Can we allow Jesus to "meet us at the point where we are most lost" and so recognise the gift we've been given in this total outpouring of love which is Easter? The Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday night brings the Triduum to a climax. On this holiest of nights, the symbols must be given their full power -- beginning the liturgy in darkness; using the very best readers; hearing water flow and seeing oil generously smeared on the newly initiated; feeling that same water fall on us as we recall the baptism of our own dying and rising; joining our hearts and voices in song and then with the newly initiated offering ourselves with Christ on this holiest of nights and receiving his Body and Blood at the table of Communion. This 'feast of feasts' surely deserves nothing less. For more information visit www.adelaide.catholic.org.au/sites/ officeforworship/ Getting the most out of Easter It's an ancient, sometimes haunting, melody often associated with cloaked monks in medieval churches. Now, Gregorian Chant is making a comeback in Adelaide. Since the introduction of Gregorian Chant to the Edwardstown Parish last Easter, the St Anthony's Church Choir has grown to about 15 regular members -- the youngest being 14 years old. Last April, there were just four in the choir. "I love it," says choir member Christina Brachen. "For me, there is a lot more meaning in the psalm when I chant." The choir sings, in Gregorian chant, the "propers" (the Introit, Alleluia, Responsorial Psalm, Offertory and Communion), as well as the "ordinaries" (Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus, the Lord's Prayer and Agnus Dei), at the Saturday vigil and Sunday morning Masses at St Anthony's Church, on South Rd. Choir member 15-year-old Rhaneela Punipham says she enjoys the traditional context of the chanting and its connection to the Gospel and the readings of the Mass. "They mean a bit more now that we sing them, rather than just say them," she says. Parish Administrator of St Anthony of Padua, Edwardstown, Father Phillip Alstin said: "the congregation is now singing the Mass rather than singing at Mass, with the invitation to all present to embrace the meaning and significance of the texts reflectively and prayerfully." He said a more active participation from the community was required in singing the chant which was always meant to have "pride of place" in our worship, according to the Vatican II Council. Fr Alstin said during Lent this year, the normal Lectio Divina group sessions held at the parish would include the opportunity to pray the Word of God through Gregorian Chant. Parishioners are invited to join with the choir at 7.30pm on Wednesdays during Lent. Lectio Divina (Latin for divine reading) is a traditional Catholic practice in which a passage of Scripture is read; its meaning is reflected upon and then followed by prayer and contemplation on the Word of God. Gregorian Chant, whose origins are ascribed to the period of Pope Gregory I 590-604, was traditionally sung in unison by choirs of men and boys in churches and religious in convents and monasteries. Its calming effect has led to a popular resurgence during the New Age music movement of the 1990s, including several chart-topping albums by monks and nuns. Chanting makes comeback By Rebecca DiGirolamo TUNE IN: Front -- Organist Pat, Jearen, Yasmin, Yolanda, Lisa and conductor Nigel. Middle -- Sharmini, Rhaneela, Hermin, Pam, Shireen, Christina, Josh and Bong. Back -- John Paul, Zac and Tom. Photo: Keturah de Klerk