Sunday, 23 March 2008

Easter Sunday at St Hilda's.

The High Altar just before Mass. It is truly wonderful to feel the presence of the Saints praying with us and singing our Easter praises to Christ our Risen Saviour.

The procession, Canon Fr Peter McEvitt, Andrew Teather as Sub-Deacon, Fr Norman Price as Deacon and Fr Ronald Croft as Celebrant.

Procession towards the Altar of God.

Censing the Altar.

The collect.

Andrew reads the Epistle and Sequence.

The Sursum Corda.

Regina caeli, laetare, alleluia:
Quia quem meruisti portare. alleluia,
Resurrexit, sicut dixit, alleluia,
Ora pro nobis Deum, alleluia.

Andrew is away from today for a week. I have candidly agreed (twisted arm) to post a blog about High Mass on Easter Sunday morning, along with my thoughts and feelings.

Today, we were indeed blessed having two Cathedral Canons to share in our liturgy, one in the congregation and Canon Fr McEvitt in the Sanctuary. The church was full, young and old alike and full of flowers, candles were once again lit at shrines and everything sparkled. Fr Croft commented that it was like walking into a wonderful garden. Thank you ladies.... Whilst at church yesterday, cleaning, setting up the Altar etc, I was given a whistle stop demonstration by our flower arranger extraordinaire Sheila. It looked simple, but then it would. I think my comment was 'I'd like to try that sometime'. I get the feeling I might be roped in at some point soon. Oh well......

To me, last night's liturgy, its rich symbolism and renewal of our Baptismal vows is the absolute pinnacle, the summit of what I hold dear, what I love about the Holy Catholic faith. The preparation through Lent, 40 days in the wilderness, through to the Holy Triduum and the Resurrection of Christ on Easter morning. To me, the Resurrection is a revelation and sign of God's mercy, of His power, of His love, but also of the greatness of man. As Christians, death has no fear for us; it has become a gate into eternity. We all know that the day will come when the voice of Him who has brought into being all things, the voice of Him who is our Saviour will resound, and we will all stand before our God. Towards the end of Mass, whilst the congregation were making their communion, I saw a Mother with her two young sons kneeling by the tomb we had built on Holy Saturday. Today, the stone was rolled away. I was touched, almost to tears to see this Mother, like Our Blessed Lady kneeling at the foot of the cross on Good Friday with fear in her heart to the joy she felt on Easter morning, this Mother was relaying the story of redemption and salvation to her two sons through the Easter garden and the empty tomb. Christ is risen, He is risen indeed. This Eastertide, let us earnestly believe the word of God, let us conquer our doubts and hesitations by listening to God himself speaking to us, and let us respond to the word of God and to the event of the Resurrection with faith, love and gratitude. Have a wonderful Easter.
Signed: Chris McGuinness (aka: A Hildaite).