good friday thoughts

As I write, Good Friday services are just about to begin back at my home parishes in Portland and Seattle. I’ve just returned from services at my bloggy friend Omis’ parish here in DC. A beautiful and moving service, perfectly executed and well planned. It was fairly packed as well. I was able to join those who took turns holding up the cross during the individual veneration. I was deeply touched as people I’d never met came to kneel at the foot of the cross I was holding. Looking down on them, I could only imagine the pain and suffering they have endured in their lives as well as the loves and the joys. Yet here they were, participating in this same ritual with Catholics the world over.

In the past 4 weeks I’ve been in 4 different Dioceses … Portland, Seattle, Newark & D.C. At the moment, I am in awe at the idea of the global church. Individual customs do vary from place to place … some kneel when others stand, some only have the bread during daily mass, some have “Jesus bread” others thin wafers that as a First Communicant made me think of cardboard. Some use more snippets of inclusive language and others have more vestiges of traditional liturgy. But at the core, you can go to a Catholic church anywhere and get the gist of what’s going on. Perhaps this was more true pre-Vatican II when all was done in Latin with more uniformity. But I have been privileged at various points in my life to attend liturgy in German, Italian, French & Spanish. And while I wasn’t able to fully participate, I felt at home and knew that the Spirit was moving in those people just as the Spirit moves at my home parish. I remember watching Pope John Paul’s funeral on tv and being amazed that while I had no idea what they were saying when the readings were in a different language, it was still the word of God and I felt the meaning in my heart.

These holy days of Triduum are so powerful to me, even away from my home parish. Last night I was honored to attend Holy Thursday liturgy at an African-American parish here in DC where my friend is helping out. Afterwards, in the parking lot, is where I got a real sense for that community. They are church … God is so obviously present there in their love, concern and rejoicing in each other.

I’m rambling so I’ll close this post by simply saying how thankful I am for my fellow travelers on this journey of faith. Those I know and love and those I do not know at all. They are all my brothers and sisters helping to make up this wondrous mystery that is the Church. In our diversity there is unity. And that is a tremendous gift.


Mark Mossa, SJ said...

I'm starting to feel jealous. Seems like just about everybody's getting to meet our friend Omis except me!

A said...

Susan. Thanks for this. I think this post expresses well a part of what it means to be Catholic, despite all our differences.

And I want to meet Omis too, and Susan, and Mark...and the list goes on. :)