On Palm Sunday we processed around the church carrying Palm Crosses and singing “Ride on, ride on in Majesty”.
The Wednesday lunch time Mass at 12.15pm was celebrated by the Rev. Dr Tom Atfield, who reflected on how we as Christians individually handle our own versions of Discipleship.
Thursday morning was back to everyday ‘business’ as usual, with the church open in the morning to congregation and visitors alike – for a chat, a cup of coffee, quiet prayer, and then to the Brambles for an excellent lunch.
Good Friday was a lovely spring day, and on the morning Stations of the Cross were led by Server Jon Harcourt, followed then as tradition dictates, by hot cross buns and coffee (note: why hot cross buns? because they are always cold).
Friday evening we gathered in church for “The Passion of Christ” readings by members of the congregation, when we re-enact the Good Friday story, leading to when Jesus says “It is finished”.
The bare wooden cross was carried high from the back of church with the phrases ringing our “behold the wood of the cross” echoed by the response “on which hung the Saviour of the world”.
The cross was placed on a table in the Sanctuary, and everyone was invited to venerate in a way which was comfortable for them.
After veneration, we were all invited to partake of the Body of Christ, which had been previously Sanctified prior to Good Friday, and all who stood in good stead with their own church received the Sacrament.
Holy Saturday morning is usually when the Easter flowers are arranged in church, followed by a ‘big-clean’, and this one was no different. Flowers, greenery and duster flicking were much in evidence, thanks to the efforts of our sterling congregation.
The Easter Eve Vigil service began almost in darkness, and as we gathered in the church porch, Fr John Oakes lit the Holy Fire and thus began the Holy Saturday Liturgy.
The Paschal Candle was duly blessed, and the incense grains to represent the five marks of Christ driven into the wax. Congregation lit their candles from the Candle, and we processed to our places by candle-light. Fr John sang the Exultet (Easter Proclamation), which is the traditional song of praise near the Paschal Candle. From thence we processed to the font, where our baptismal vows were renewed, and then sprinkled with holy water before moving back to our pews. The church lights were turned on, and the high altar candles were lit to the triumphant strains of the Gloria and the ringing of bells.
The liturgy and ceremonials of Holy Saturday reflect the true glory of the catholic traditions, and the reverence afforded following the crucifixion and leading to the Resurrection.
Alleluia! Christ is Risen!
He is Risen indeed! Alleluia!