This day has been observed as the anniversary of the first lockdown resulting from the coronavirus pandemic affecting our country.
Now, happily, final preparations are being made for the celebration of Holy Week and Easter in slightly less restricted circumstances than last year. At least this year there will be small congregations in our churches for abbreviated liturgies.
Whether with full blown ceremonial or minimal ritual, Liturgy is always the ‘work (of the assembly) of the Church’. The big difference for many of us this year is that we now have the better part of twelve months’ experience of using social media which does facilitate participation, albeit limited, for the faithful as well as closeness with their communities in living this Great Week of the liturgical year.
In his Note to bishops, Cardinal Sarah of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments stresses that whilst the use of social media has greatly enhanced the participation of the faithful during the pandemic, there should be a focus on the media coverage of liturgies presided over by the Diocesan Bishop so that those who are “unable to attend their own church [should] follow the diocesan celebrations as a sign of unity.”
Accordingly, I invite you to join me for the Triduum liturgies and the Liturgy of the Hours live streamed from the Cathedral or the Oratory at Bishop’s House this Holy Week, that together we may be more intensely united in prayer and the worship of the Church, with the Universal Church.
Each of the Triduum liturgies will enable us to think in a particular way of some aspect of life as we are having to live it at the moment:
at the Chrism Mass we might remember particularly the sick, our children and young people in education and our leaders;
at the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, we can reflect on the service given to others and the feeding of those particularly affected economically at this time;
on Good Friday, let us pray for the sick and all those who have and do carry the cross with Jesus in suffering and sacrifice;
finally, on Easter Day, let us all thank God for the joy and hope that is given us in the Resurrection and for the opportunities we have to bring new meaning, light and life to others in sharing the good news of Jesus’ victory over death.