From the opening processional, the sincerity and the seriousness of the service could be felt. The music was sentimental and wonderful, and the message was serious and emotional. It was an evening of significant "S" words, especially concerning the sacrament we were there to remember...the very first Holy Communion.
Father Desmond reminded us of Jesus' command to "Love one another as I have loved you" through the washing of the Apostles' feet and the institution of communion. He stressed the meaning of a sacrament..."The outward and visible sign of an inward, invisible grace".
In order to prepare ourselves for this, he explained the significance of the foot-washing as a means of serving and being served with the love Jesus exemplified. Father Desmond demonstrated this and the experience was open to the congregation-so meaningful and significant.
This was followed by Holy Communion with the entire congregation going up to the steps to the altar and taking communion together while being reminded that we should eat the bread, His body, and drink the wine, His blood, in remembrance of Him This was followed by the remembrance of the humiliation Jesus faced during His arrest and trial, as the altar was stripped. The service ended by everyone exiting in silence with the Holy Spirit in evidence during the entire service. Amen
The Stations of the Cross took us on the journey that Jesus experienced on the path to the Cross. It was a moving, yet sobering, service, filling us with guilt, empathy, and humble thanksgiving.
From His condemnation to His placement in the tomb, the story is realistic and human, both poignant and poetic, and the best is yet to come!
Then, in the evening, memorable from the beginning, especially with the crosses covered in black, the emphasis on the sacrifice and extreme suffering Jesus experienced-so difficult to hear, read, and digest. Father Desmond's descriptions painted an agonizing picture, and we were invited to kneel at the large cross on the altar to express our unworthy praise and thanksgiving. It was truly meaningful, as we departed in silence.