At the end of my last blog post I had the idea that I would at least make the effort to post every day in Holy Week. Well that just didn’t happen. If I was completely honest with myself, it never stood a chance.
Holy Week is always one of the busiest weeks of the year for me. Yes, even busier than Christmas. In my working/secular life, Holy Week and Easter Week are the bookends to a long weekend…the longest set of public holidays in the Australian calendar. So two short working weeks present their own challenges. This year, Easter Monday fell on Anzac Day so we had an extra public holiday tacked on to the weekend, leaving only a 3 day working week to follow the long weekend.
In my music/church life, the journey towards the Easter Triduum comes to its inevitable and beautiful climax. Six weeks of Lent come to an end. Countless hours of music practice and preparation are put to the test.
So, there was never really going to be a blog post every day for Holy Week. When would I fit it in?!
Here’s a look back on the last week of Lent. Holy Week. The most beautiful week of the year…
Monday – This was the only day of Holy Week that I didn’t have to actually do anything for the church…and just as well because it was a busy working day. I had numerous meetings, teleconferences and information literacy sessions. Our work unit was hosting a careers expo in the education centre and the girls were working hard to make it a great success (which it was). I wasn’t actually involved but I did what I could to support them…even if that meant just staying out of their way to let them get on with it. In the middle of the day I had to run out to shift my car. I’d had the foresight to bring a raincoat but, as I discovered the hard way, it wasn’t a raincoat at all! I came back to the office all cold and wet. Not drenched through to the skin but damp in patches strategically located so that I had to leave the coat on to save my embarrassment. Oh, what a start to the week!
Tuesday – My day off. Or not. I didn’t have uni lectures that day so I’d agreed to go to one of the residential/sub-acute facilities in my health service district to deliver an information literacy session. They could only manage to have a session on a Tuesday morning so I was always going to have to do this on my off day.
After this session, I met up with my mother and we went to visit a man who I’d known for nigh on 25 years. He was 91 years old and suffering severe dementia. He was in a high secure nursing home but that didn’t stop him escaping…twice! After his second bid for freedom his health had taken a steep turn for the worse. I’d felt guilty for not going to see him more often but at least I was making the effort now. He was so changed. I hardly recognised him. He was just skin and bone. His doctor said he probably wouldn’t survive the week. I sat and held his hand and prayed with him and spoke kind words to him.
That night I had the last choir practice for the Easter Masses. I would have rather been anywhere but there. I’d even had to turn down an opportunity to go to Mass that night which would have been far preferable to conducting choir. I had no song in my heart. However, I saw that I had a duty to perform and I did my duty. I wasn’t prepared for how singing the hymns for the practice managed to lift my spirits, albeit for a short time only.
Wednesday – The last day of my working week. A busy day. The girls had planned a special Easter lunch. We exchanged gifts and wore silly bunny ears and had a great time. Then I ran another information literacy session.
I had to get away quickly that night. I was attending reconciliation. Second rite of reconciliation is actually quite nice. Although, from a music perspective, it is a difficult liturgy. To manage to play the right music for the right amount of time and still allow the singers and musicians to receive reconciliation themselves. I think we pulled it off.
When that was over, those of us who were involved in the Triduum took time to run through the plan for Good Friday and Easter Vigil. It was a long day.
There’s more to say but I’ll leave the Triduum to a post of its own.
Stay tuned folks!