Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Lent and Triduum Without the Elect

Wednesday greetings from frigid Chicago.
Last night I attended a liturgy committee meeting at my parish. We are preparing the celebrations for the Season of Lent and the Triduum. We don't have any catechumens in our parish currently. We talked about this fact at our meeting. I commented that our celebration of Lent and the Triduum without anyone preparing for baptism diminishes us as a parish. This will be only the second time in the last twenty-four years that I have been in a parish without anyone being baptized at the Easter Vigil.

I remember well the full and rich celebration of the Triduum when I attended Saint John's Seminary in Boston many, many years ago. At my first Triduum at my first full-time job as director of liturgy and music at Saint Mary Magdalen Parish in Altamonte Springs, Florida, there were eleven adults baptized and thirty-six adults welcomed into the full communion of the Catholic Church. It wasn't until I experienced that very first adult baptism at the Vigil that I realized that something indeed had been missing from all my previous celebrations of the Triduum. Walking with the elect through the scrutinies of the Lenten Season and accompanying them with prayer and song to the font enriches the experience of this sacred time. Not only do we witness the power of the Lord in the lives of the elect, they serve as a reminder to us all that Lent is about preparing to renew our own baptism promises at Easter.

So, I will deeply miss this experience durnig Lent and the Triduum this year. Have you had a similar experience?

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.


joeski5651 said...

I am Master of Ceremonies in my parish. Does that count ?

marian said...

I have experienced this kind of Triduum and would suggest rather than lamenting on the lack of catechumens, make the renewal of baptismal promises by the assembly big. No little dipping of fingers in the font, but encourage handfuls of water, and use as many instruments (especially brass)as possible to herald going to the source of our lives in Christ. Put Father in the font and have him sprinkle liberaly all who approach. With all the turmoil in the world, and the struggle with the new Missal, what an opportunity to focus on the baptized and allow them to be truly refreshed at the font.

Anonymous said...

The only benefit of this would be that you would omit a lot of the Easter Vigil mass. It'd make the Vigil a quicker and better flowing liturgy. I have never experienced a Vigil at my church without Elect present. I know one church in Las Vegas(on the Strip) that doesn't have an RCIA/C progam. Most parishioners from neighboring parishes attend the Shrine if they don't want to sit through all the extra stuff that the Vigil has. Personally, I enjoy the Vigil and all of its rights. Easter Vigil is like WalMart in a stop shopping. There's something for everyone when it comes to the vigil.