Thursday, March 20, 2008

Paschal Retreat

When I was stationed in New York as a newly professed sister, I was particularly impressed with the way the Jewish community observed the high holy days, especially Yom Kippur. Manhattan seemed to have shut down for the day: restaurants, stores and offices, if open, were running with a skeleton crew. Heads of companies were nowhere to be seen. They were taking the holy day off. The city that never sleeps was making a retreat.
As Christians, we get our holy day of Christmas handed to us by the culture, but the even greater holy days of this Paschal Triduum are, for many, many people, workdays like any others, except that the more pious among us find a way to attend services sometime during the day. (The Chicago Methodist Temple downtown has a banner announcing its 25-minute services on Good Friday.)
What if Christians treated Good Friday the way the Jews of Manhattan treat the Day of Atonement?

Here in Chicago, some people looking for last-minute gifts for friends entering the Catholic Church may be dismayed to find our book center closed on Friday; we'll be making our Paschal retreat, and giving our employees the chance to do the same. I won't be blogging until Monday, in order to observe the Triduum better. (What I will do is create some simple posts now, and just "turn them on" day by day.)
How are you able to celebrate the Lord's Passion on Good Friday?


Katney said...

My schedule at school does not have me there on Fridays, and the price of gas makes it impractical to drive the 45 miles on my day off for a short time.

But our eighth grade class presents the stations of the cross for the entire school. The fifth grade choir sings. Even though it is in the gym, it is a most reverent and prayerful occasion.

Despite the eighth grade version of senioritis and the chatterbox character of our current class in general, these kids become the most reverent, prayerful, serious group of teenagers you can imagine.

I was able to be present for the dress rehearsal this afternoon--even contributed a quick costume repair. I may drive after all.

xaipe said...

Isn't that beautiful!

Anonymous said...

The priest mentioned this same idea tonight in his homily. I try every year to have this day off to reflect and spend time with family. This year was different and I missed the quiet time of reflection.

As a child in the sixties my mother would make us (10 kids, good Catholic family)go to bed at noon until three and reflect, wedidn't know what to do but if we got loud, there was H E double hockey sticks to pay.

I try that with my kids and I get stares. At least they go to the evening services with my wife and I and they wonder aloud why they are the only teenagers present. I tell them they are special and that they care. and I get stares.

Wouldn't it be great to take three days off and just be together with people that care and understand. Wouldn't we be teaching our kids alot about love, life and God if we could stand still and gaze and wonder for a few days. How better off we would be.