I had only enough money for one candle so I lit that before taking a seat. Even though it's a very large church and I was seated in almost the back row, I spied what looked to me like a monstrance, way up there on the altar.
Oh, it can't be! This isn't 'First Friday!'"The priests at this versus populum church (I almost wrote "ad populum!") imitate BXVI's use of a crucifix on the altar and I tried to tell myself the monstrance was that. But, no, there's no mistaking the difference in their appearance!
While we sang a Lenten hymn from the missalette, the deacon entered almost immediately wearing a cape 1 which he didn't remove. He told us there would be exposition and benediction "around" stations according to JPII's '91 version. He went to the tabernacle and we got on our knees and he placed the host in the monstrance. He had a censer and he knew well how to use it. His movements were flawless.
We sang O salutaris Hostia and I know my pronunciation isn't very good. Then the stations which, you know, as partial as I am to Liguori's classic, this other version brought tears to my eyes. I wish I had the text as it appeared in the booklet in front of me for reference. In fact, I just ordered the booklet from Amazon. It's that good. The early stations made use of Psalm 6 which is all about being broken. You have any doubt I was crying? Just read verse 6.
And I wish I could find the lyrics of the hymn by Fr. John Broderick set to the tune of Stabat Mater. Well, the words are in the book that's coming, that I can sing to myself if I can't find a recording.
Then he read the day's Gospel (Matt. 5:20-26) and gave a brief, encouraging homily. Then, I'm fuzzy: Tantum Ergo, which my pronunciation isn't too bad for, benediction and the divine praises with the optional ending that I don't have memorized yet:
May the heart of Jesus, in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar, be praised, adored, and loved, with grateful affection, at every moment, in all the tabernacles of the world, even until the end of time. Amen.It was a beautiful combination and I left the building deciding I would live for Fridays. At the same time, I had a weird impression of the host as some sort of proctor. Now, I just found this at the US Catholic bishops site, from the Committee on Divine Worship, "Devotions and Eucharistic Adoration:"
Eucharistic exposition and benediction are no longer considered devotions, but rather are a part of the Church's official liturgy. Whereas in the past benediction was frequently added on to the end of another service or devotion, this is no longer permitted. Eucharistic exposition and benediction is a complete liturgical service in its own right and is to be celebrated as such.So, now I have something to think about.
1 maybe called a "cope."