In Your Midst

LITURGIES OF HOLY WEEK
Are High Point of Our Faith Journey

Spring 2001

In This Issue:
Dear Friends,

As I write this, we are already well into the double digits of February and by the time you read it, March will have come and gone. The new year is no longer new.

One of the things that has accelerated the passing of days for me is the almost relentless round of activities that crowd the Cathedral calendar and keep life around here from ever being dull. A case in point are the follow-up meetings being held in recent weeks by the action groups which have energetically taken on the task of putting some flesh on the bones of that attractive brochure you all received some months ago, Setting Our Path: A Vision Statement for St. James Cathedral.

There are currently three action groups: One is dealing with issues of family and youth ministry; a second with the whole area of young adult ministry; and the third is investigating ways we can better use Cathedral property and resources to help meet the needs of the poor. You would be encouraged to see how imaginative are the discussions of the people who make up these groups and how deep their commitment to making the Cathedral even more alive and responsive to ever-changing needs. In the months ahead they should have a good deal to report to you.

On quite another note, we are, of course, about to enter into the holiest days of the Church’s year.

The liturgies of Holy Week are the high point of our journey of faith each year. If you have been at St. James for Holy Week before, you don’t need me to remind you of the power and beauty of the liturgies, beginning with Palm Sunday and concluding with the Sacred Triduum, which concludes with the great Easter Vigil.

Holy Week and Easter fit so well with the rhythms of our lives, coming as they do at the time when all of nature practically shouts of newness. As nature renews itself, we are invited to do the same — to find new life and hope by drawing close to Jesus who is the resurrection and the life.

This year, in addition to your participation in those eucharistic liturgies, perhaps you will decide to participate in some or all of the Liturgies of the Hours, which will be celebrated in the cathedral. In my experience some of the most memorable and moving of the Holy Week liturgies are the hauntingly beautiful Tenebrae (or Night Office, celebrated in almost total darkness on the Wednesday of Holy Week); the Morning Praise celebrated at 8:30 AM on Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday; the Office of Compline (night prayer) on Holy Thursday at 9:45 PM; and the Solemn Easter Vespers at 4:00 PM on Easter afternoon.

We are blessed to be able to celebrate all the solemn liturgies of Holy Week and Easter in a way that few cathedrals in this country, or even in the world, are able to. It will be a joy to celebrate them with you.

The Very Reverend Michael G. Ryan
Pastor, St. James Cathedral


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