Holy Week liturgies bring the faithful together

The liturgy of the Sacred Triduum (sacred three days) provided the faithful with familiar sights and sounds. While the pandemic made it necessary to modify some of the regular liturgical rites, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, the Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday saw large, but socially distanced crowds.

Prior to the beginning of the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, the sacred oils that were blessed earlier in the week by Bishop Malesic, were received into the church.

In a familiar yet modified tradition, Father Mike washed the feet of parishioners as did Jesus for his Apostles during the Last Supper. Representatives from the Parish Pastoral Council, Parish School of Religion (PSR) and the Day School sat in the sanctuary as he poured water from a pitcher over their feet.

Following communion, servers processed throughout the church and back to the sanctuary to repose the blessed sacrament on the back altar. The faithful were invited to stay and pray just as Jesus prayed in the garden of Gethsemane following the Last Supper.

The cold bite of a Good Friday morning was not enough to keep a group of parishioners from praying the Stations of the Cross. Led by members of the parish’s youth ministry and escorted by a Brooklyn police officer, the group walked through the streets near the parish pausing 14 times to read a short reflection. Deacon Don provided a closing prayer and blessing.

Good Friday afternoon saw a couple hundred parishioners gather to commemorate Christ’s passion and death. Father Mike and Deacon Don began the service lying prostrate in the sanctuary. After the reading of the passion, a large cross was processed into the sanctuary. Due the pandemic, the faithful were asked to remain in their pews for silent prayer and adoration rather than to touch or kiss the cross. Communion that was consecrated at Thursday’s Mass was distributed to conclude the service.

The Mother of All Vigils began in typical fashion with a blessed fire and Easter candle. While the faithful were not permitted individual candles, the light of Paschal candle illuminated the church. Following Deacon Don’s singing of the Easter proclamation (the Exultet), readings from both of the Old and New Testament were proclaimed interspersed with the singing of the Gloria.

St. Thomas More Parish was blessed to have two catechumens enter the Church. They received the sacraments of initiation (Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist). In addition, two candidates completed their initiation with the reception of the sacrament of Confirmation.

Easter Sunday saw the largest socially-distanced congregations in over a year at both the 9am and 11am Masses. Beautiful music and over 250 people filled the church for Easter Sunday morning!

More photos from Holy Week and Easter Sunday are available on our Facebook page.

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