EASTER AT ST. AUGUSTINE’S
This year’s Easter Triduum celebrations at St. Augustine’s, as ever, provided an opportunity for the whole parish to consider the most important events of our Lord’s life and mission. Below you will find a brief commentary, with pictures, of this year’s Holy Week events.
“The Son of Man came to serve, and not to be served…”
On Holy Thursday we celebrated the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, giving us an opportunity to thank the Lord for the gifts of the Eucharist and of the Priesthood
which He left to the Church that night when he celebrated the Last Supper with his disciples. This also gave us an opportunity to rededicate ourselves to Eucharistic devotion and to revive our commitment to praying for an increase in vocations to the Priesthood. The Church’s liturgy also reminded us of the importance of service in the life of the Christian, symbolically represented by the re-enactment of the Lord’s own gesture of service, in the washing of the feet. At the end of the Mass, the Blessed Sacrament was taken in procession to our Altar of Repose, where the Lord would remain until His Resurrection on the Vigil of Easter. It was a memorable celebration, rich with ritual and symbol and which markedly changed the tone of the Church’s liturgy.
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
On Good Friday, a day of fast and abstinence in memory of our Lord’s sacrifice on Calvary, St. Augustine’s witnessed large numbers coming to unite themselves in prayer with a sombre and mourning Church. Mass was not celebrated on this day to mark the moment when Christ died. We celebrated the Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion, recalling the events leading up to Christ’s betrayal and death. After the liturgy of the Word, each person was invited to come forward to reverence the wood of the Cross, Christ’s bed of death which became our means of life. After a restrained hour of worship, with no musical accompaniment, the congregation received Holy Communion from the Reserved Sacrament and left in silence.
“…and after three days He will rise from the dead”
Holy Saturday saw the Church restored to its usual splendour, again decorated beautifully with new linen, candles and flowers, thanks to the hardwork and effort of Mrs. Rice and the Kearney family. The Mass on this day, the Easter Vigil, marked the moment of Christ’s Resurrection from the dead and so was joyful and jubilant in tone. After the lighting of the Paschal Candle, the solemn ‘Exultet’ and readings followed, which narrate salvation history right through the Old and New Testaments.
Tonight, he bells rang-out and the organ led us in the ‘Gloria in excelsis’ and Alleluia for the first time since Ash Wednesday. The Liturgy of the Word was followed by a special Liturgy of Baptism and Reception
when we welcomed Jacqueline (our RCIA candidate) into full communion with the Catholic Church; a special moment not only for Jacqueline and her family but for the whole community. (For more on Jacqueline’s journey click here).
After the Mass the congregation were invited to the Hall for light refreshments, to finally celebrate Easter together.
“If the Lord had not risen, our faith is in vain”.
On Easter Sunday the 10am Mass was, as usual, busy with families and children. On this day the children were given a special chocolate treat to celebrate the occasion and to reward them for their excellent Lenten observance over the past 40 days.
And so the Lent and Easter celebrations this year drew to a memorable close.
Fr. Michael J. Kane (2012)