April 18, 2014

Tantum ergo

At the end of Holy Thursday Mass, the Blessed Sacrament is brought to a special place of repose as the tabernacle is left empty in anticipation of Good Friday.  From this sprung a tradition where people visit seven churches on Holy Thursday to pray before the Blessed Sacrament.  This is the third year we have sponsored a Holy Thursday pilgrimage and we had over 40 students take part last night.

We began with Compline (Night Prayer) at Saint Anselm Abbey Church.  This is the final prayer of the day for the monks of Saint Anselm Abbey and is very brief, about 10 minutes.  It is very simple and I like starting with this as most of the kids (if not all) have never been to a monastic liturgy of the hours (plus, it's one of my favorite places on Earth).  Abbot Mark Cooper, OSB came over after and said hello to the students as did the prior, Father Mathias Durette, OSB.

From here we went to Saint Raphael's Parish.  The Mass, celebrated by the pastor Father Jerome Day, OSB, was still going on when we arrived and we snuck in during communion and sat in the back rows.  We joined in the procession to the place of repose and spent a few moments in prayer.  We then drove over to Saint Anthony's Parish and I asked the pastor (and our chaplain) Father Richard Dion to speak to the students about the meaning of spending time in prayer on this night.  He compared it to spending time with Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemani.  They first celebrated Mass (Last Supper) and then walked with Him in procession to an area full of flowers and greenery (the garden) to spend time in prayer.  I never thought of it that way and appreciated the symbolism very much.

Our next visit was to Saint Joseph Cathedral where we could still see the smoke from the incense at Mass.  Here we spent a few quiet moments in prayer in the beautiful, recently renovated chapel.  Our final church was Saint Catherine's Church (actually, Saint Catherine's School as that is the place of repose).  The pastor, Father Paul Montminy, came over and said hello to the students and led us in a few prayers.  We concluded our night with ice cream at the Puritan Backroom as is our custom.

This is always a special night for me and I liked that our visit to each church was a little different - night prayer, the procession, an explanation, time in quiet prayer, and prayer with a priest.  The kids are always surprised by how much they enjoy this evening hopping from church to church and being with their friends.  The ice cream doesn't hurt either!


April 17, 2014

"As I have done…"

 Today is Holy Thursday and we marked the morning with our annual prayer service.  This year students from St. Joseph Regional Junior High School joined us.  For many years, we have had a Washing of the Feet service where our principal, Mr. Mailloux '72, washes the feet of 12 members of the school community.  The service began with a song by our choir, an opening prayer, then the singing of "Jesus the Lord" which is a canticle from the Letter to the Philippines.  It's one of my favorite songs and I had asked the choir if they could sing it this year, it's so beautiful.

Nick Capobianco '15 then read the gospel passage where Jesus washes the feet of His disciples.  He stopped at the point where Jesus had washed the feet and the 12 from the school went to the middle of the gym and Mr. Mailloux washed their feet.  The group included Trinity students, Trinity teachers, one of our cafeteria workers, and two students from St. Joe's.  It's always a touching moment and a reminder that in the end, we are all equal and we are called to love and serve everyone.

From here we transitioned into our Stations of the Cross ceremony.  We used to produce our own but last year, the Mystery Players asked if they could perform.  The Mystery Players is a group of high school students who act out the Sorrowful Mysteries on Fridays in Lent at local churches.  Half of the group is made up of Trinity students and are directed by Mrs. Tarr P'11, '13, and '17 among others.  They always do a magnificent job and you could have heard a pin drop in the gym.  Jon Mercurio '15 was Jesus, Shannon Menard '15 was Mary, Bryan Dufour '14, Jason Dufour '16, and Jacob Blomquist '16 were Roman soldiers, Molly Hayden '16 was a member of the crowd as was Kelsey Mercurio '17.  David Tarr '17 ran the lights and the rest of the crew were from other schools.

The choir concluded the prayer service with a final hymn.

This is always a powerful way to enter into the Easter Triduum.  Tonight we will have our annual Holy Thursday pilgrimage where we will visit five Manchester churches and spend time in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament.  We will meet on the front steps of Saint Anselm Abbey Church at 7:15pm and all are welcome.

April 14, 2014

Marking Holy Week

With Holy Week upon us, we will be offering many opportunities for our school community to enter more deeply into the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Our morning prayer each day will be a short passage from the Gospel of Mark.  Today I read the section of Judas agreeing to betray Jesus.  Today at the start of both lunch mods, we will pray the Seven Last Words of Jesus in our chapel.  Tomorrow Father Richard Dion will be here for confessions from 11am-12pm and on Wednesday we will pray the Seven Sorrows of Mary at the start of each lunch mod.

On Holy Thursday we will have our traditional Holy Thursday Prayer Service in the morning with the Washing of the Feet and the Mystery Players will present their rendition of the Passion of Christ.  That night, we will have our annual Holy Thursday Pilgrimage where we travel to five churches to spend time in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament.  We begin at 7:30pm with Compline (Night Prayer) at Saint Anselm Abbey Church then go to St. Raphael's, St. Anthony's, St. Joseph Cathedral, and St. Catherine's.  We then end our night with ice cream at the Puritan Backroom.

"60 Minutes"

If you missed last night's episode of "60 Minutes" do not fear, it's all online.  The story on Pope Francis actually spanned two segments and Cardinal Lacroix '75 is in the second segment.  The entire story was fantastic and I loved the final line, "If you're not feeling challenged [by Pope Francis] then you're not paying attention."

You can watch part one here and part two here.

April 12, 2014

Cardinal Lacroix on "60 Minutes"

Tomorrow night "60 Minutes" is doing a story on Pope Francis and Cardinal Lacroix '75 will be a part of the segment.  You can read about the story here but be sure to watch tomorrow night at 7pm on CBS.

I am pretty sure this will be the first time a Trinity Pioneer has been on "60 Minutes!"

April 11, 2014

So close...

I have the privilege of serving on the Public Policy Commission for the Diocese of Manchester and one of the biggest issues of late has been the repeal of the death penalty here in New Hampshire.  A bill that would do just that passed the House of Representatives last month and it goes before the Senate next Thursday (Holy Thursday ironically).  The vote is going to be very, very close and the diocese is urging citizens to call their senators between now and next Thursday to encourage them to vote for the bill.  Bishop Libasci testified in favor of the bill before a Senate committee and the diocese is doing a full court press on this bill.  

Please consider calling your senator now and simply ask them to vote for the repeal of the death penalty.  Email is not effective, they take phone calls very seriously.  I guess the number of pro-repeal phone calls is overwhelming so it's important to keep the pressure on.  If you don't know who your senator is, you can find them listed at this link.

Trinity Week 2014

Each year the week before April vacation is Trinity Week here at Trinity High School.  Each day there are special dress down days, each afternoon there is a fun assembly, and each evening there is an event like a dance or something sports related.  This year we added a new dimension - Mass and Mercy.  Each day (except for Friday), each class will gather at a local church for daily Mass and then break off and perform works of mercy at various sites in Manchester.  The freshmen will go on Monday (St. Anthony's for Mass), the sophomores on Tuesday (St. Pius X for Mass), the juniors on Wednesday (Blessed Sacrament Parish for Mass), and the seniors on Thursday (St. Raphael's for Mass).

It's been quite a challenge placing over 100 students a day but it will hopefully be a nice experience for our students and the community.  The goal is not only to provide our students will opportunities for Mass and mercy but also for us as a school community to build relationships with our parishes and the local non-profit agencies.

Some of the groups we are serving are:

Blessed Sacrament Parish
Families in Transition
New Hampshire Food Bank
New Horizons
Mt. Calvary Cemetery
Mt. Carmel Nursing Home
Parish of the Transfiguration
Sisters of the Presentation
St. Anthony Parish
St. Benedict Academy
St. Pius X Parish
St. Raphael Parish
Ste. Marie's Parish

Stay tuned!

Stay tuned!