|St. Stephen's Cathedral as I first knew it before the renovations and modern extensions.|
At 10.00am the Cathedral was comfortably full for the Stations of the Cross - a very devout and properly sober action inspiring deep prayer. The only discordant note , a female reader who did not have any idea of reading intelligently, mercifully she was also not inclined to read dramatically.
CELEBRATION OF THE LORD'S PASSION
At 3.00pm the Cathedral was Standing room only with overflow at the doors
The celebration of this liturgy was strictly "Say the Black and do the Red". What a relief! The music was brilliant thanks to the Cathedral Schola.The only jarring note came from two of the Readers who are both obviously theatrically trained. The first reading by the male was delivered with chiselled diction and heroic theatricality , then exit stage left and it was over - the reading overwhelmed by the performance. Later, in the parts reading of the Passion, the wife in the pair delivered her customary theatrical reading - but she seems to be a primary school teacher - for the delivery , though polished- is as if aimed at 5yr olds.I make these comments with strict objectivity.
In every other respect ,the remainder of the reading of the Passion, the Veneration of the Cross,the Holy Communion liturgy - nothing more could be asked. The whole was truly moving and inspiring of devotion.
I exclude the Homily of the the soon-to-retire( 3 months to go) Archbishop John A. Bathersby from that summary, for it was yet another of his doubts about Jesus efforts: when did he know He had to die,Why did He ... Did He really believe.... etc .etc.I had whispered to me : "He must have been really surprised when He found out He was GOD!" As the Italians would say: "Basta!" Happily, by the time I left the Cathedral I had forgotten his sorry performance - until my wife mentioned it. Still, the power of the Holy Spirit in this devout liturgy overwhelmed even a muddle-headed Mitred Homilist.
"Forbid it Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ, my God;
The vain delights that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His Blood."AMEN