Holy Week Hush

Okay, it’s odd being a priest on sabbatical during Holy Week. I have this Pavlovian response that makes me want to go write sermons. I have an odd urge to give the boys a bath so I can wash their feet. I feel like cooking something on our stove since I’d normally be slaving over a hot altar this week.

One antidote to this was yesterday’s Mass of Collegiality at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. Every year on the Tuesday of Holy Week all the priests of the diocese gather for a service followed by lunch. I always go grudgingly (“I don’t have time for this; it’s Holy Week!”) and leave inspired and energized. It’s a great reminder that we do not journey toward the cross and resurrection in isolation but rather do so with the larger church. 

We all vest for the occasion — 250 or so priests walking in procession is quite a sight — and stroll two-by-two down Amsterdam Avenue along the close to the Cathedral. We get some odd looks from bystanders and I’m always tempted to tell a group of tourists “We do this every day at 11 am.”

Yesterday was Cathedral liturgy at its best: eight bishops, countless deacons, hundreds of priests, four sets of crucifers and torch bearers, several vergers, a touch of incense. What more could you ask for? Besides not having to write five sermons this week.

My prayers go out to all my clergy colleagues as they lead their communities along this wonderful journey. I feel slightly guilty that I’m not feeling overwhelmed right now. I have time to blog after all. But I’m looking forward to walking through Holy Week in a new way. One I probably won’t experience again until the Pension Fund kicks in. 


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