We had a lovely, busy Easter around here and are just about ready to catch up on a little extra sleep. ;)
My parents arrived last Wednesday and we've been hopping ever since. Thursday we had a yummy lamb dinner followed by a beautiful Mass at our local parish. John and I are now singing in the choir (so we were committed!). I don't think I had been to Holy Thursday Mass at our local parish since Ria was a baby. Back then they were having everyone in the congregation come up and get their fingers washed in lieu of the foot washing. Like I said the Mass was really beautiful. The whole story and idea of the foot washing is really important to our pastor. He gave a beautiful sermon about it and how it should apply to our own perspective on life (including how the pastor at his first parish assignment brought the concept home to him - by leaving a towel, basin and pitcher outside his door as a reminder) and the foot washing ceremony was central and very thorough.
Our local parish has been offering Morning Prayer for Liturgy of the Hours every weekday morning before morning Mass. This was particularly beautiful (and well-attended) over the Easter triduum.
Good Friday morning we went to the outdoor Stations of the Cross at Holy Hill. Often I'm able to pray better in quieter venues, but there's something amazingly beautiful and moving about offering this prayer with a huge group - perhaps 500 people - led by Archbishop Listecki (after the tradition of Archbishop Dolan who used to lead it every year).
On Good Friday morning I had gotten an e-mail from my big sister to see if we were up for some last minute surprise company over Easter! She arrived on Saturday afternoon and surprised my parents and the kids. Here's a shot of my mom with me and Sharon.
Saturday evening we all went to Easter Vigil at our local parish. John and I sang with the choir and were grateful for the extra help with the kids. The Easter fire was by far the largest I have ever seen. The wood was easily 5 feet high, faithfully manned by some experienced-looking boy scouts (and protected by a generously sized roped-off area). It was a long but beautiful night (with lots of singing!) and eleven people baptized and/or confirmed during the Mass. Gaude et Laetare!
John and I also sang for Mass the next morning and enjoyed a fairly laid back party with family and friends in the afternoon and evening. Easter egg hunt, lots of food and visiting and a enormously funny game of Balderdash topped off the evening. A few pictures follow this post...