In order to stay up past his bedtime, Tim opted to come with me to the Holy Thursday service in Hamilton. We were a few minutes late getting there only because we hosted my brother-in-law and his two boys for dinner. We took our seats as the catechumens were presenting the blessed chrisms from the bishop.
Tim had wanted to light a candle but I always forget the protocol: the gates were drawn closed until after the Vigil.
There was quite a bit of incense. The readings were short enough. I had Tim follow along in my missal but he was really only interested in the psalm, especially the word "psalm." The homily was about the ministerial priesthood and the sacraments, particularly holy eucharist and reconciliation. About how the priest doesn't say "Christ absolves you," but rather, "I absolve you." Very basic stuff but I guess people need to hear it. I tried very hard to pray my rosary to drowned out the homily but I couldn't focus. I was too interested in what he was saying.
Twelve people, men and women, had their feet washed by the priest. Conveniently, they went up barefoot. I prefer when the priest does the lot rather than hands off the task. But I read somewhere on the internet that only the feet of males are to be washed. I wouldn't even know where to look to confirm that. This parish seems to take pains to be by-the-book. More about that later. I was just glad that the choir sang things other than that repetitive Gregory Norbet song.
At some point, I got the sense that the intent of the liturgy was to separate the true Catholics from the pretenders. As I looked about, everyone was especially enjoying the incense and reverence. No one seemed disgusted at the pretentious air, pardon the pun. So, I was just reminded that there are plenty of Catholics who'll come out of the woodwork to appreciate such a service. It was fine for me. It didn't bother me.
The procession used an umbrella instead of a canopy. Maybe the parish doesn't possess a canopy. I suppose I could check back at Corpus Christi. A friend of mine told me she's switching to an ELCA church because this parish asked for $50,000 towards church ornaments, like candelabras, etc. She just thought the money could be better used to fight poverty instead of worshipping God properly. I should have told her about the time I heard a pastor ask for $60,000 in one weekend, but that still doesn't make it right.
When it was over, most people just seemed stunned, just sitting there, not knowing whether to move or not. I whispered to Tim that it's done, that we could leave quietly. And I read in the paper a couple of days later that the bishop was at St. Al's in Jackson - a relatively new church building that I have not visited yet. It would have been perfect had I only known!