Tag Archives: Easter

Lenten intentions

Today was pretty much a write-off. I managed to miss my sleep window last night and didn’t crash until after 2 am. And this after the stop-and-go traffic for an hour and a half on my way back from Barrie yesterday.


I didn’t make progress on any of my projects, but rather got sucked into a genealogy vortex for a couple of hours this morning, lay down on the sofa to read after lunch, and crashed for four hours. Awoke to darkness except for the glow of my herb garden.

IMG_0039And isn’t she beautiful? My mom gave it to me for Christmas and I had to find a place in my cluttered kitchen/study to put it. I finally got it set up  a couple of days ago, and today I noticed some shoots starting to emerge! I see fresh herbs in my future.

I missed Ash Wednesday mass yesterday with my outing, which was coordinated with others before I realized what day it was. My Lenten intentions this year include … gulp … giving up sweets (not including fruit or other naturally sweetened whole foods.) And of course to follow the prescribed fast days. How does this play out for me? No frozen yogurt bar halfway through the afternoon. No ordering meaty pizza on Friday nights. No chocolate bars or baking pies or putting Nesquik syrup in my afternoon iced coffee. No apple fritters at Tim Hortons when I’m on the road. I should probably avoid my organic nut and seed bars because, lets be honest, they’re full of honey and are really just a protein-heavy, gluten-free candy-bar.

There is a debate among Catholics of good faith about whether Sundays during Lent should be a wild card, exempted from the fasting and other promises. I’m going to call it a “no” for this year at least, as I suspect I am fairly addicted to sugar and getting it mostly out of my system for 40 days in a row is probably better than a little binge every seven days.
I had a momentary debate with myself about the Foundry Cider I pulled out the fridge to go with my dinner. Sugar? Na. But I thought I’d check the nutrition label and found that there isn’t one. But there’s this instead:

foundry can

I don’t want to be legalistic about all this. We’re also called to acts of charity and spirituality, for which I have planned. But there are good reasons why Catholics have these traditions and rules. Every time I crave something sweet over the next forty days, I am reminded that my suffering is nothing.  And that’s great preparation for the highest of feast days that we approach.

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The story of a small dog and his spe-shul holiday weekend.


I spent the aftenoon cleaning up dog puke after Wilson got into a bag of Easter chocolate.  Luckily, he vomited so copiously that a vet call wasn’t necessary.  He was doing, all on his own, what the vet would have induced.  Unfortunately, he seemed to prefer carpets and a hard-to-reach-corner under Alex’s bed.  

All is back to normal now.  

Easter celebration details to follow.  I need to get some sleep after the four-liturgies-in-four-days choir marathon that was the weekend!  

Up early tomorrow to take Alex to the movie set.

Good Friday

Another quiet and moving liturgy today.  Entering the church to the empty tabernacle never ceases to take me aback, and this afternoon was no different.  The silent procession and the prostration of the priest and deacon are also very emotional moments.

St John’s Passion Narrative was read and the choir sang the crowd responses.  An unaccompanied soloist sang the spiritual Were You There while the offering was collected.  This was followed by congregational singing of O Sacred Head, Surrounded, one of my favourite hymns that regularly brings me to tears.

During communion, the choir sang When David Heard by Thomas Tomkins, an achingly beautiful piece that was somewhat under-rehearsed (and showed it).  Check out this YouTube version. Warning:  there are some heartbreaking images as you get in to the video.  The text of the piece is roughly 

When David heard that Absalom was slain, 
He went up to his chamber over the gate and wept; and thus he said:  
Oh my son, Absalom my son.  
Would God I had died for thee.

The liturgy ended with veneration of the cross while the choir sang The Old Rugged Cross.

Easter Celebration

I sang at the Easter Vigil last night which was lovely. There was a good turnout from the choir and our cantor was magnificent. So I took myself off the roster for Easter Sunday mass so that I could prepare for our festive dinner at 1:30 today with Z’s cousin and family, and our niece visiting from Montreal. The rest of my family went to the 8:30 mass this morning, and brought home some hot cross buns for a mid-morning snack to tide us over to our late midday feast.

Dinner was a lovely, relaxing meal, once all the prep was done. We couldn’t fit all nine of us around our table, so we set up a separate table for the four teens in the family room.

We started with some proscuitto, salami, peppered pate, and salmon mousse with homemade crusty bread and a Pinot Grigio.

My first roast leg of lamb was a success. It was 3.5 kilos and I rubbed it with a mixture of seasoned salt, pepper, cardamon, dry mustard, and marjoram, stuffed a few slices of garlic into slits cut into the meat, and basted it with some melted butter and olive oil. Julia Child suggests sealing the roast by broiling it for 15-20 minutes, so I did that, and then roasted it for 2 hours at 350 degrees. We put some carrots, onions, and fennel around the roast and tossed them with Italian salad dressing. Other sides included creamy mashed potatoes and green beans sauted in butter. Gus and Elaine brought a Greek salad. We served this with a California Shiraz

For dessert, we had a traditional English trifle made with (homemade) pound cake spread with cherry jam and sprinkled with sherry, bananas, strawberries, blueberries, custard, whipped cream, and toasted almonds. And Nanaimo Bars. And Creme Caramel that Gus made and surprised us with.

We spent the remainder of the afternoon drinking tea and chatting, occasionally taking a stab washing a few dishes. Magali had to leave around 6 pm to catch her flight back to Montreal, and Gus and Elaine and their kids left about the same time. It was a very nice day, spent with family with some great food and conversation.

Maundy Thursday: Mass Report

Choir call was at 7:00 for the mass at 8:00. I’ve been away the last few Sundays so haven’t had the benefit of much rehearsal for the Triduum music, and we were only 9 (plus the organist) singing last night. But because most of our music was a capella, coupled with lovely acoustics in the church, I think we sounded okay.

The processonal hymn was When I Behold the Wondrous Cross. (I’m not sure why the title was changed from “When I Survey….”. Maybe it’s a Catholic thing?).

Father Larry gave an excellent homily that refreshed our memory on the significance of the day, particularly for priests. He also tied Jewish customs based on the reading from Exodus to the Eucharist.

During the liturgy of the washing of the feet, we chanted Mandatum novum do vobis (“a new commandment I give unto you) from whence comes the word “maundy”. The was followed by an Ubi Caritas medly: the first verse arranged by Durufle for four voices (see it at YouTube), and the remaining verses from The Catholic Book of Worship III.

During the offering of the gifts, we sang I am the Bread of Life unaccompanied.

At the end of mass, during the procession with the exposed eucharist, we sang Tantum Ergo arranged by Durufle for four voices:

Tantum ergo sacramentum
Veneremur cernui,
Et antiquum documentum
Novo cedat ritui;
Praestet fides supplementum
Sensuum defectui.

Genitori Genitoque
Laus et jubilatio,
Salus, honor, virtus quoque
Sit et benedictio;
Procedenti ab utroque
Compar sit laudatio.


or, in English:

So let us devoutly revere this great sacrament, and the old covenant may give way to the new rite. May faith grant assistance to the deficiency of our senses.

Jubilant praise, glory, laud, honor, and benediction be to the Father and the Son. Equal praise be to Him that proceeds from the two.

The procession was beautiful and the Blessed Sacrament was exposed at the St. John altar in the church. Oddly, at least for me, our parish appears not to have a monstrance. In our previous parish in Atlanta, we had a beautiful gold cross shaped monstrance in which the Blessed Sacrament was actually exposed. We also had a 24 hour period of adoration each week. Last night, the Body of Christ was in a chalice-type vessel with a lacy cloth laid over top. Considering that our parish is actually called “Blessed Sacrament”, the apparent lack of a monstrance and the fact that the tabernacle is outside the sanctuary to the side of the altar, is all very sad.