And Cardinal O'Brien picked up on the same theme at the Mass of the Lord's Supper - love - the manifestation of that love in the Most Holy Eucharist - poured out for us. It was a wonderful Mass - the choir is SO beautiful there at the NAC. The liturgy well done. The procession at the end of Mass went to a chapel downstairs - the entire congregation processing through the halls of the seminary until we reached the chapel. I must admit it was strange - it's the first time in 16+ years that I have not presided at the Holy Thursday Mass - weird - but at the same it was wonderful to be able to sit back and pray.
Several other thoughts on the Mass:
- as we chanted the Gloria - the bells pealed above us - beautiful sounding, real bells! They lingered into the Collect.
- Also, that's where the use of the organ stopped - from the Gloria on, the organ was used only to play a few notes for the choir to know the first few notes of the chants for Mass.
- During the Universal Prayers we prayed for persecuted Christians who are unable to celebrate the Mass or even these Sacred Days because of their difficult situations. I began thinking of those who live in fear, those who are oppressed, those in prison, those who have been kidnapped... so many who cannot practice their Faith because of oppression and persecution.
- And I reflect that this journey, which has brought me to Rome and the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher, kind of began with my great spiritual closeness to our persecuted brothers and sisters... and it kind of came full-circle at Mass tonight for me.
Following Mass, there was a meal for the priests - again that WONDERFUL hospitality the men there at the NAC share and express. I'm so grateful to them all. Oh, I forgot to add this photo I took - the view of St. Peter's from the NAC. Beautiful...
Before heading back to the house, the Cardinal and I made a visit to the Blessed Sacrament in repost there at the NAC - the Cardinal's silhouette is seen... It's something that has been a great source of strength and blessing - that the Cardinal is a great man of prayer - beginning every day kneeling before the Blessed Sacrament in our chapel - just as he is here...
After dinner I came back to the apartment and changed clothes so that I could go out on the traditional visit to 7 churches on Holy Thursday. Well, earlier in the day Rome Reports had put something out which mentioned Santa Maria della'Orto and "the machine" - a huge display of 200+ candles surrounding the Blessed Sacrament in repose. Well, I decided I was going to find it - so set out toward Trastevere - figuring I'd stop at every other church along the way and make a visit. And it was very fruitful!
First church was the Chiesa Santo Spirito in Sassia which is very near to our offices for the Holy Sepulcher. In fact I've been in this church before - last time I led a pilgrimage the group had some free time around the Vatican - and I went into this church to pray for a bit (and rest out of the heat of the summer). Never did I think I'd be back again on Holy Thursday.
Next church I found was... Well, I can't find it again on the maps - and I've spent about 2 hours trying - but here's the photo... There were a LOT of people here in this church praying... how nice to see that the tradition survives!
Next, Chiesa S Salvatore de la Corte S Maria della Luce.
The 4th church was Santa Maria en Trastevere. Again there were a lot of people here in this church as well.
Next to last was San Crosogono - which happens to be run by the Trinitarians... (once again, the Woods' in Gettysburg - I had never seen them before you introduced me to them).
Lastly - on my way back home - I found went to last church - and it is actually the closest to home - and I see it every day - Santa Anna... just inside the gate.
Then I was back home - and ready for bed after a long day and long walk through the Trastevere section of Rome..