Holy Week is almost upon us. Next Sunday, Parishioners will be invited to begin our Passion/Palm Sunday celebration with the blessing of palms outside the Church at the 9:30 AM Spanish Mass and in the Parish Center at the 11 AM Mass. All the other Masses will begin in the Church proper. This year, there will be two notable changes in our Triduum: The veneration of the cross and the baptisms.
Good Friday: After talking with our Liturgy Committee, I have come to understand that St. Anne’s has historically offered multiple crucifixes for venation on Good Friday service. However, the Church calls for only one cross to be used. It is an option to use a cross or crucifix. Since the theology of the veneration is directed towards the cross (recall the priests intones: “Behold the wood of the cross on which hung the savior of the world...”) and the rite is called the “veneration of the cross,” we will be using one very large cross and not a crucifix. Since it will be almost life-sized, it will allow several people to approach the cross at once and offer their veneration at the foot of the cross as well as the right and left arm of the cross. The size of the cross should aid in the timeliness of this part of the service. Examples of veneration include a bow, a kiss, a genuflection, or a simple touch of the hand according to the preference of the person. Families are encouraged to approach at one time instead of individually waiting for each person to venerate.
Easter Vigil: As mentioned in last week’s column, I described that we will be offering baptisms by immersion or submersion, that is either having water poured all over the person or actually dipping the person all the way under the water. If you have never seen this approach, you will be in for a special treat. I have done immersion/submersion baptisms ever since I was ordained almost ten years ago. For the truly inquisitive, I have posted a video describing how to make a temporary immersion pool and showing actual immersions on Easter Vigil. Go to http://www.frbill.org/frgeek.html to see it on your computer. The baptismal fount will be located between the front pews where there is plenty of space and will remain there for the entire Easter season. When you arrive to Church during the Easter season, you are encouraged to enter the Church, bless yourself from the large fount, and then go to your pew. Of course, the traditional holy water founts at the entrances of the Church will be available.
With the arrival of a new pastor comes some new approaches. It is a new day, and I hope that this Easter will be one of renewal and refreshment to all who come through our doors.
Fr. William Holtzinger