St Anselm’s Easter Triduum, April 2015
As the choir sang, “the blessing cup that we bless, is a communion with the blood of Christ” The Mass of the Lord’s Supper’ was underway on April 2nd 2015 heralding in the three most precious and holy events of our Easter Calendar.
The washing of the feet of six women and men of the Parish reminded us that a new commandment had been given to us, one that would change the world of man forever. The poignant procession of the Blessed Sacrament to the Altar of Repose and the watching and waiting with Our Lord in this our Garden of Gethsemane culminated in the Night prayers of the Church we were ready for the solemn remembrance of the Liturgy of Our Lord’s Passion.
The ceremonies on that day were marked by crowds in their hundreds at the adoration of the Holy Cross and the attendance at confession, and as the final hymn of the day so aptly put it, we were ready to give “Praise and honour to the Father, Praise and honour to the Son, Praise and honour to the Spirit, ever three and everyone, One in might and one in glory, while eternal ages run.”
Holy Saturday, 4th April 2015 at 8.00pm, the Church of St. Anselm’s so beautifully decorated with its Garden of the Risen Lord was plunged in darkness as a blazing fire was prepared and the Easter Candle was lit from the fire. As the candle was carried in the church giving light as a symbol of Resurrection, Deacon Michael Carrucan, sang the triumphant words “Lumen Christi” (the light of the world) and we the congregation sang in return “Deo Gratias”(thanks be to God).
Father Will then sang the glorious Exsultet – and our Easter Vigil had begun.
Rejoice heavenly powers! Sing choirs of angels! Exult, all creation around God’s throne! Jesus Christ, our King is risen! Sound the trumpet of salvation!
Rejoice, O earth, in shining splendour, radiant in the brightness of your King! Christ has conquered! Glory fills you! Darkness vanishes forever!
Rejoice, O Mother Church! Exult in glory! The risen Saviour shines upon you! Let this place resound with joy, echoing the mighty song of all God’s people!
It is truly right that with full hearts and minds and voices we should praise the unseen God, the all powerful Father, and his only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
For Christ has ransomed us with his blood, and paid for us the price of Adam’s sin to our eternal Father!
This is our Passover feast, when Christ, the true Lamb, is slain, whose blood consecrates the homes of all believers.
This is the night when first you saved our fathers: you freed the people of Israel from their slavery and led them dry-shod through the sea.
This is the night when the pillar of fire destroyed the darkness of sin!
This is the night when Christians everywhere, washed clean of sin and freed from all defilement, are restored to grace and grow together in holiness.
This is the night when Jesus Christ broke the chains of death and rose triumphant from the grave.
What good would life have been to us, had Christ not come as our Redeemer?
Father, how wonderful your care for us! How boundless your merciful love! To ransom a slave you gave away your Son.
O happy fault, O necessary sin of Adam, which gained for us so great a Redeemer!
Most blessed of all nights, chosen by God to see Christ rising from the dead! Of this night scripture says: “The night will be clear as day: it will become my light, my joy.”
The power of this holy night dispels all evil, washes guilt away, restores lost innocence, brings mourners joy; it casts out hatred, brings us peace, and humbles earthly pride.
Night truly blessed when heaven is wedded to earth and man is reconciled with God!
Therefore, heavenly Father, in the joy of this night receive our evening sacrifice of praise, your Church’s solemn offering.
Accept this Easter candle, a flame divided but undimmed, a pillar of fire that glows to the honor of God.
Let it mingle with the lights of heaven and continue bravely burning to dispel the darkness of this night!
May the Morning Star which never sets find this flame still burning: Christ, that Morning Star, who came back from the dead, and shed his peaceful light on all mankind, your Son who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.
The magnificent choir under the direction of Martine with accompaniment by our organist, Catherine and a full team of musicians and choristers ended the second reading with the song of joy, “Sing glorious his triumph, I will sing to the Lord.” Members of the congregation, Paul Chown, David Sharp, Dele Olopade and Sr Mary (LCM) led us through the readings into the grand fanfare of organ and bells as we sung our glorious Gloria as all candles were lit on the sanctuary altar and we were now ready for the Proclamation of the Gospel of Mark 16:1-7 when Mary of Magdala was told “there is no need for alarm.” Christ had risen. Our salvation was complete.
The ceremony continued with the moving and beautiful Litany of the Saints read by Nick Dunne and with the Choir intoning “Saints of God, come to our aid! Pray for us, pray for us all.” This was followed by the blessing of the water of Baptism and the reception into full communion of the Church with our members of those who have attended the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults during the year and who were now joining the congregation for the first time as newly Baptised and Confirmed members of the Parish community. We welcome John Bailey, Pascal Brou, Amanda Chase, Maria Dawson, Alexandra De Morais Simoes, Alicia Dias, Jose Dias, Magali Tatiana Sena Galinares, Sabrina James, Olivia Lee, Sandy Liu, Tien Hanna Liu, Nikita Nwokoro, Clare Oswin, Richard Pilgrim, Richard Stainthorpe and Leone Whyte.
The prayers of the Faithful were read by Bebie McCarthy.
Jose Dias and Nikita Nwokoro, two young parishioners made their First Holy Communion, brought up the gifts of bread and wine during the Offertory Procession.
During Communion the Priests distributed communion under both kinds with the assistance of the Little Company of Mary Sisters. The choir completed our communion reflection by singing a most beautiful rendition of Out of Darkness by Christopher Walker.
After greeting the congregation and thanking and wishing them all the joys of the Risen Lord, Father Will thanked the members of the parish Team who had made this special celebration possible including his fellow Priests, his Master of Ceremonies, and altar servers, the choir under the direction of Martine, musicians Catherine and instrumentalists, and the catechists who have supported the RCIA Journey in Faith programme this year lead by Tom McCarthy, Tom Gately, Margaret Drummond, Lorrainne Miller, Theresa Ilome and Martine Mercer.
As the blessing rang out in our hearts, the Choir led us in an enthusiastic and vibrant singing of the magnificent old hymn, “Thine be the glory, risen conquering Son.” and as the timpani drums played by Tom Lorimer boomed out we had in the words of the final hymn been brought “safe through Jordan to thy home above”…… We were ready to celebrate the Easter Season!