Our 40 Hours Devotion has begun. We were delighted to welcome Fr Peter Edwards, Parish Priest of St Joseph's, New Malden to our parish last night as he celebrated a beautiful Mass to open our devotion. I'm very grateful to our altar servers who came to serve Mass after school or work, including one of our younger servers - well done! Fr Peter also preached a very helpful homily on the Blessed Eucharist.
It was encouraging to see a good number present for the Mass and many stayed behind for Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and Adoration immediately after Mass. I was also pleased to see a few 'strangers' amongst the congregation also. All are very welcome to call in at any time.
I always find it very moving to see the steady stream of people coming and going quietly throughout the day . . . and the night. There is an almost tangible atmosphere of prayer in our simple but beautiful church. We are very blessed here at St Ann's to have so many good and holy parishioners. God is good indeed!
Adoration continues throughout the day today and throughout the night until the closing Benediction at 9.10am on Thursday morning. Parish Mass will follow this at 9.30am on Thursday morning.
It has been another busy Sunday in the parish. At the end of the 10am Mass we had the May crowning of the statue of Our Lady. This necessitates the use of a ladder and ascending the same in priestly vestments but all was accomplished successfully and safely.
Although we didn't sing this particular hymn today for the Crowning, you might like to hear it anyway . . .
Immediately after Mass we moved straight into the Opening and Blessing of our new Annexe. You'll find a few photos of that on our Annexe blog.
This was the scene greeting parishioners who joined together to pray the Office of Readings for Holy Saturday. A bare church with a forceful reminder of what had happened yesterday on Good Friday - the Crucifix which we had venerated during the solemn liturgy taking centre stage on the stripped altar; our crucified Lord flanked on either side by the simplest of wooden candlesticks . . .
It was encouraging to see a good number coming along to pray the Office together. Not long afterwards our flower arrangers got to work to transform the barren space into a place of beauty, all ready to receive our Risen Lord at the Easter Vigil and the First Mass of the Resurrection this evening.
Here are just a few shots to give a flavour of how it looks but the photographs don't really do it justice.
Our Easter Garden . . .
Still waiting . . .
St Ann . . .
And of course her daughter, Our Blessed Lady . . .
If you'd to see more, please join us for the Easter Vigil at 8pm this evening. All are warmly invited!
It is always a very moving liturgy on Holy Thursday, especially for the celebrating priest. Last night's Holy Thursday Mass at St Ann's was no exception. It was a very reverent Mass from the entrance procession, the Liturgy of the Word and the homily; the Washing of the Feet, or Mandatum; through to the procession to the Altar of Repose after Holy Communion and the Stripping of the Altar after the silent exit of the celebrant and altar servers.
Here are just a few shots of our Altar of Repose to give an idea of the prayerful scene as many stayed behind to watch with Our Lord until Midnight.
And here is our Altar of Repose just after midnight when the Blessed Sacrament had been removed to a place of safety overnight. Hats off to our florists for a beautiful and fitting display!
Finally, the sanctuary looking suitably bereft and desolate after a very reverent Stripping of the Altar by our altar servers.
Today after Mass, the ironing board was much in evidence as the veils were taken out and made ready for the veiling of the statues and the Crucifix.
Hopefully we might have a photo or two to post tomorrow.
Our Lenten preparations move into a more intense phase as we enter Passiontide and move inexorably towards Our Lord's Passion, through Palm Sunday and the incredibly moving liturgies of the Easter Triduum culminating of course in Christ's triumph over death as we celebrate His resurrection at the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday evening.
I hope that we're going to see a full church for all our Easter liturgies.
Here are the details of the Easter Triduum at St Ann's. I look forward to seeing you.