Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Fr. Augustine Thompson reports from Jerusalem

[This post is actually Fr. Thompson's.]

Through the kindness of Shawn, since server problems in Rome prevent me from posting to the NLM myself, here is my report on the Easter Vigil at the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. The Vigil was in the Ordinary Form, but celebrated at 6:30 a.m. on Holy Saturday because the setting of the liturgy times for the various Churches using the Sepulcher was decided by the Ottoman Sultan back in the 1600's. As it is not clear who has final say on scheduling now, all the times are as they were back then. So we celebrated the modern Vigil at the “old” early morning time.

His Beatitude Michel Sabbah, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, who was away, was represented by his coadjutor, the Most Rev. Fouad Twal, who was also the celebrant. He becomes the new Latin Patriach this week. The entire Vigil was sung in Latin from beginning to end, including all seven of the Vigil lessons. Readings were all sung according to the traditional Gregorian melodies, as was the Ordinary and Collects. The propers were from the Graduale Simplex to facilitate congregational singing, which it certainly did. Latin Christian Arabs are known for including Gregorian in most of their Masses, even when the vernacular (Arabic) is used, and they certainly sing with gusto. As to the liturgy itself, I think the images and the linked video speak for themselves.

I was very fortunate during the Triduum to have had two guardian angels: Fr. Gregory Tatum, O.P., Professor of New Testament at the Dominican Ecole Biblique Francaise in Jerusalem, and Michael Barone, deacon of the diocese of Newark NJ. They made sure I was a concelebrant or vested participant in every liturgy and got me a front row seat at all the services. A picture of the three of us taken at the Ecole... Michael will be ordained priest in May and is an avid reader of NLM.

Christ is Risen!

--Fr. Augustine Thompson, O.P.
Reporting in from Jerusalem and Rome for NLM

(The new Easter fire for the Paschal Candle is lit from the tomb of Christ)

(The chanting of the Gloria)

(The offertory)

(The Post-communion)

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