For two hours yesterday afternoon, on Good Friday, I had the distinct privilege of being the annual guest preacher at St. Francis of Assisi Church’s service of the Seven Last Words of Christ in New York City. It was a very moving experience for me, particularly seeing the devotion of the many hundreds of people who came to the Holy Thursday liturgy, the Seven Last Words and the celebration of the Lord’s Passion. The crowds kept growing and the people, never rowdy, never complaining, willingly stood in the church once the pews were quickly filled. They stood for hours. I am grateful for the friars’ invitation to be this year’s preacher.
It was an especially wonderful opportunity to spend two of the three days of the Triduum with my brother friars in New York City. I was indeed inspired by the dedication that the friars and the rest of the Church’s staff has to the people of God in their tireless work to prepare for Holy Week and offer their energy and effort, whether it’s in the confessional as the lines go out of the Church before Easter or, like Joe Nuzzi, directing the 22 men and women in RCIA preparing to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church.
The music. The music at St. Francis of Assisi Church is beyond this world. I cannot begin to describe how wonderful the liturgical music is at St. Francis. Meredith Dean Augustin is the director of music at St. Francis and deserves so much credit for what she brings together. The talent of the musicians and vocalists, many of them professionals in the City, raises the spirit of the liturgical assembly beyond words. I think I had chills throughout the entire Responsorial Psalm on Good Friday — between the cantor and the string quartet, I was lost in the prayer of the music. The choir also sang the ENTIRE Passion Narrative from John’s Gospel on Good Friday. Incredible. Simply incredible.
I returned to Albany, NY, to my home friary late last night after a sold-out train ride out of New York City (I had hoped to leave earlier, moving my ticket to an earlier train, but every train out of the city on the holiday weekend was sold out). When arrived I had an email pointing me to the “Googling God” blog, written by Mike Hayes, a campus minister at the University of Buffalo and something of a young adult ministry guru whose experience includes co-founding the famous BustedHalo.com website and authoring the book Googling God (Paulist Press). His post yesterday, “Day 47: Good Friday: 50 Day Giveaway: 5 Bloggy Friends,” was the latest installment in his 2011 Lenten practice of giving something meaningful away to somebody on each day of Lent.
I was surprised and honored to be included among a handful of bloggers, both those Mike has met in ‘real life’ and those like me who have been connected over the web through the emerging ministry of blogging and social media, that he selected to include in his Lenten practice. Thanks, Mike! One of these days our paths will cross in ‘real life!’ Looking forward to it!
Finally, for those who have expressed interest in reading the reflections from yesterday, I assure you that they will be made available in some form in the future. They are a bit too long for here, and I’m not sure that the blog is the best medium for them, but enough people have expressed interest that I will be sure to keep all you DatingGod.org readers in-the-loop, so stay tuned.
In the meantime, have a Blessed Easter!
Peace and all Good!