Monday, April 9, 2012


It is very quiet.

There are no school children around. No secretaries. No janitors or maintenance personnel. Most of the seminarians that have been staying with us over Easter have vamoosed. While filling Sebastian’s water bowl my phone fell out of my pocket and right into the water so THAT’S not working. We have for all intents and purposes fallen off the face of the earth.

It is a guilty pleasure.

One of the seminarians, Joe, asked me if I was going to take an Emmaus Day. In his country the priests all disappear on the Monday after Easter calling it the Emmaus Day to relax and recharge. I am not going anywhere. This is one of maybe five or six days out of the entire year that the rectory is empty and I fully intend to enjoy it.

The Triduum went well. All the rehearsing and work by our behind the scenes people paid off. We looked like we knew what we were doing. Mundy Thursday went without too much of anything by way of hitches but then again Fr. Pfeiffer had the Mass. My job was to be decorative altar furniture and sit next to our pastor emeritus.
I was plenty nervous about Good Friday having to remember everything that had to happen with the rubric changes. Reading the Passion we had a Federal Prosecutor reading the part of the Voice. He read it well. “Truth! What is truth?!” I felt like I was on the set of Perry Mason. It took everything within me not to smile.

Most of the “difficulties” happened at the Easter Vigil. Fortunately most of them happened in the dark so nobody saw them. Entering the church the Paschal candle went out about which we were alerted by a concerned parishioner in much the same way somebody might have brought to our attention a raging fire in the basement of the church.

We lost one of the priests in the initial darkness of the procession and after the third “Christ our light!” the Paschal candle took off before the servers could light their tapers which they were to use to light all of the candles at the shrines. They went off chasing the candle into the sanctuary.

Half way through the offertory the music stopped. We still had a bit to go through. The altar had yet to be incensed and we just kept continuing on in silence. I was thinking to myself, “Well, I am not going to hurry this along simply because there is no music! I wish they would at least fill with something!” As it turned out, the organ, once again, just stopped playing – some sort of computer failure - not unusual as of late unfortunately.

The organ is being ripped out tomorrow.

I’m not kidding.

At the end the choir invites the congregation to sing the Halleluiah Chorus and then the priests stand in back and shake hands and wish people a Happy Easter. We change, lock up (just in time as it turns out. The alarms came on shortly after) and then, as is our tradition, we headed over to the rectory and had a shot or two of slivovitz and had a play by play recounting of the night laughing about things that went wrong (or right.) Sebastian still needed to go for a walk and so the lot of us, priests and seminarians, took the dog for his nightly airing out before all good clergy headed off to bed.

Easter Sunday was packed. Chairs needed to be brought up from the basement. Altar servers turned out in droves. “Can you use another server?” “Sure! The more the merrier!” So the Masses grew in numbers of ministers and in pomp. In some ways they went better than the vigil – though they were far less complicated.

The day ended with a friend coming over to share a bottle of Easter wine. Before he left I said, “You know, the organ is being ripped out on Tuesday. Do want to go climbing?” He was game and so we went exploring into the inner chambers of the organ.

“Stay here,” I told him sitting on a perch among the pipes, “And I’ll go play a march and you can see what it is like in the organ chamber when it is playing.” So I opened her up and gave her all that she is worth. It is a neat thing to experience. Instead of sound simply coming out of a speaker, thousands of flutes or pipes all around you play their individual notes and sounds in an orchestrated manner to make music.

The last song I played before shutting her down was, “Lepa si lepa”, a Slovenian hymn to Mary saying something along the lines, “You are a beautiful rose Mary . . .” Mom (rest her soul) always told me that I should always christen an organ by playing a Marian hymn. Thinking of her at Easter, I put this organ to rest having the last song being dedicated to the Virgin Mary.


Anonymous said...

I found out that my dd would volunteer to serve during those times so she could have a seat! 00 Confessions of young adults...

Anonymous said...

I think the Organ quitting was a blessing. The silence might prompt people to listen to the lord and dare I suggest some spontaneous prayers.

Kate J said...

The Easter Vigil is my favorite night of the year! Our Paschal candle also went out, halfway down the aisle. That's never happened before, in my memory. A seminarian quickly ran from the back of the church to re-light it. My large, overgrown altar boy son got to carry 100 lbs (he says!) of holy water thru the church to the baptistry and was privileged to be tall enough to pull down the sanctuary lamp and light it this year. He kept those younger boys on their toes as well.
Grateful to you and all our dear priests who put in long hours - a little rest is well deserved. As the mom of a large family, it is a rare day indeed when my house is empty, and I also enjoy the quiet - altho you wouldn't want a home or rectory empty too often!

Anonymous said...

I was able to go to each service/mass during Triduum, and if I may echo everyone else, you all did such a great job! I think I got a little teary-eyed at each service. As a newer Catholic, everything is still pretty new and so I don't take it for granted yet (Hopefully, I never will...). The richness of the liturgy really draws you in and I truly felt like I was back in time with Christ. And also, it really hit me that you and Fr. Pfeiffer are probably a similar age to how old Jesus would have been during His Passion--young! Wow! It really made it real for me! And the choir...we are so spoiled at St. Sebastian!

Thanks, you guys!
--Baby Catholic

Anonymous said...

Father, I love your blog. Especially your Monday stories. You are so funny and self-deprecating, too. It makes St. Sebastian feel even more like a family to hear things from your perspective. Love it!

Anonymous said...

This year the Triduum was very different for me. On Wednesday, I found out that my Catholic boss was taking Good Friday off because his kids have a sports tournament over the weekend and he has to travel for that. I was shocked to hear that and could not understand why a school would schedule a game at Easter, of all the days of the year. By the time I got home that day, I was crying my eyes out for Jesus. I had this strong desire to comfort Him in his agony and was sad that not that many people understand what is going on.

Helen said...

At our church in Nevada, we have a large walk-in baptistery. On Saturday morning it was discovered that a pipe had broken overnight and all the water had drained out. It had never happened before! It had to have an emergency repair and was refilled just in time for the vigil. The water was ice cold for the baptisms as the heater didn't have time to warm it up. I'm sure the newly baptized will never forget their day as their teeth were chattering.

I love reading your blog. If I ever get to Cleveland, I will certainly search out St. Sebastian!