Tonight is one of my favorite in all the church year. It was the liturgy of the Lord’s Supper. Tonight at Mt. Irenaeus-Franciscan Mountain Retreat the evening began with a “dish to pass” supper. The friars supplied two big hams and guests brought dishes to pass. In all there were about twenty five people that attended the supper at the House of Peace. There were lots of familiar faces at dinner tonight. Franciscans from all around Western New York and guests from as far away as Virginia and New Jersey came to be a part of the Triduum at the Mountain. Following dinner we made our way to Holy Peace Chapel and the celebration of the Eucharist began. It was highlighted by an actual footwashing by the tonight’s celebrant Fr. Lou McCormick, OFM assisted by Fr. Dan Riley, OFM. In all about a dozen people got their feet washed. This re-enactment of John’s Gospel along with the rest ot the Holy Thursday liturgy has always been special for me. One of my favorite hymns “We Hold the Death of the Lord Deep in our Hearts, was part of the liturgy.
The evening concluded with Adoration of the Eucharist. Two young ladies holding candles taken from the altar led the procession around the chapel followed by the incense bearer and Fr. Lou carrying the Blessed Sacrament. We sang Pange Lingua,
“SING, my tongue, the Savior’s glory,
of His flesh the mystery sing;
of the Blood, all price exceeding,
shed by our immortal King,
destined, for the world’s redemption,
from a noble womb to spring.
Then as the evening drew to a close we sat with Jesus in contemplative silence with the sight and smell of incense and the lovely sound of Gregorian Chant.
Tantum ergo Sacramentum
et antiquum documentum
novo cedat ritui:
praestet fides supplementum
This mystical night, the celebration of the New Covenant of our Lord is one of my favorite nights of the church year.