The coolest word I ever learned in the seminary was MYSTAGOGIA. It might also be the most important one as well.
Officially, the Mystagogia is the period of re- flection and prayer AFTER the reception of the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Con- firmation and Eucharist). It stretches until the Solemnity of Pentecost. In actuality, the Mystagogia continues into eternity. We are always reflecting on, praying about, pondering the wondrous action of God in the sacraments. It makes sense that when something as powerful as our redemption happens we need to understand all the ramifications of that event. With this no- tion in mind, let me do a little mystagogical re- flection about the Holy Week that has just passed.
The first thing is an obvious thing: it was quite different from last year. I think we discovered over the past year that our observances without a congregation are deeply lacking. That is not to say that the Sacraments did not “work.” God was present even in the absence of the People of God because of the virus. But having you all there, especially on Easter Sunday made a huge difference. I could feel it in my bones. It was great welcoming many of you back. I cannot tell you how many times I heard: Father, I got my shots and I am ready to go! Awesome!
Holy Thursday. We were given a lot of restrictions about the Washing of the Feet. I felt they were unnecessary, pure Covid theatre. If you were not there, we washed the feet of six of our sec- ond graders. For me, it was a deep sign of our day school and PSR faculties who were willing to come, even when things seemed tenuous to be with our children. One of my happy memories of this year was being able to get our staffs vaccinated and safe.
They have been courageous in helping our kids through this difficult time.
Good Friday. Both at Stations on Friday after- noon and at our celebration on Friday evening, we had good crowds. I was stunned by the prayerfulness and solemnity of the folks who were present. I think many of them deeply missed gathering to remember the death of our Lord last year, and they were determined to find the time to reflect on that Wondrous Love that gave us freedom and hope.
Easter Vigil and Easter. Welcome to August Buchheit who was baptized on Saturday night, along with Rob Shutt and Julie Bensen who were received into the church. As I said that night our RCIA team did a remarkable job keeping that program alive during this goofy year. Congrats also to Rica Leyson who was confirmed this Easter. Rica’s family had a diffi- cult 2020 with the loss of their patriarch and ma- triarch, but 2021 is looking up. Easter was, in my humble opinion, absolutely perfect, both weather-wise and with the response of all of you. As I said, this is what hope looks like.
And that is my mystagogical musings for Holy Week 2021!