Holy Week has always been special to me. Back home, growing up, it was made special with beautiful customs, from attending Holy Thursday Mass to dyeing eggs on Holy Saturday afternoon. (I am not trying to put these on the same plane.)
Now, since I’ve come to St. Anne’s, this annual commemoration has only grown in significance for me. I’ve even developed traditions of my own, including making hot cross buns, ironing curtains for the Altar of Repose, and several others.
Many of these are linked to my assignment as sacristan here, which I was asked to take up several years back when our Sister Annella retired to our provincial house.
A week before Palm Sunday, the famous brown suitcase comes down from the cupboard above a closet in the sacristy. It contains cloth covers for the crosses and other items used at this time of the liturgical year. It will sit on a chair in our conference room until Easter.
Along with the special baking, ironing, and liturgical planning which take place during these holy days, extra cleaning has also become customary for me during the latter part of Holy Week.
We have Eucharistic Adoration (Exposition) in our chapel during the week, normally. However, during the Paschal Triduum, this does not take place. I use this time to do some thorough cleaning which I do not like to undertake when people are there, including polishing the woodwork, cleaning the vigil light stand, and cleaning candle holders. (In typing this, I just reminded myself of some of the work that’s ahead.)
All these tasks and considerations can be a little overwhelming. However, they are good exterior elements to correlate with interior dispositions at this time.
As I prepare the chapel for these important commemorations, as I bake hot cross buns for our residents, as I clean and iron, I think of the Holy Women who accompanied Jesus on His way and I pray that my own heart (and not just our chapel) my be cleansed more and more. I pray that it may be close to His.
(Please Note: Due to the solemn nature of these holy days I will not be posting during the Triduum. We have a custom of observing silence from Holy Thursday until the Easter Vigil, which my oft-typing fingers will strive to maintain as well.)