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Tenebrae at Our Lady of Atonement April 6, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, General Catholic.

On my recent trip out of town, I had a very blessed opportunity.  While in the San Antonio area (I never went more than a half mile inside 1604 – yay!), my family and I were able to attend services on Good Friday at Our Lady of the Atonement, Fr. Christopher Phillips’ parish.  For those who don’t know, OLA was the first Anglican Use Latin rite parish in the world.  We celebrated Mass at Atonement, which was wonderful as usual.  We were sitting just in front of the nuns from the Poor Claire’s of Perpetual Adoration – they are so sweet, and appear so serene, it’s an inspiration. 

Mass at Atonement is really something everyone should try to experience.  If you’re in the San Antonio area, it is very worth your while.  Atonement offers Liturgy in both English using the Anglican provisions (this is a fully Roman Catholic Mass, which counts as your Sunday obligation), and also the Novus Ordo Mass in Latin.  The Church is beautiful – it looks like a church!   Flabbergasting, I know! 

But the best part was something new.  I had never attended a Tenebrae service before.   Tenebrae is an ancient prayer that has been made by the Church for many centuries in an anticipatory fashion (the evening before) for Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday.  In Tenebrae, different readings are said (matins and lauds), and gradually 15 candles on a large ‘hearse’ are extinguished.  We actually began with Stations of the Cross, then went into the Tenebrae.  The readings and responses were all sung, which was great – all the priests and religious at Atonement can really sing, and it would appear that the congregation isn’t too bad, either!   It was a really blessed event – I will have to make Tenebrae a regular part of Holy Week from now on. 

The only bad part is that I am unaware of any parishes in the Dallas Diocese offering these prayers, although the one in Hunt County might, in a sense.

Here’s a video of an Anglican use Mass at Atonement – since Archbishop Gomez celebrated, I’d say it has a suitable imprimatur!   By the way, I’ve never seen Atonement as empty as it appears in this Mass.   How do you like that Ad Orientem!  The Anglican use Catholics can teach us regular Roman Rite Catholics a few things!

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