TUESDAYS WITH TERESA: Alleluia, alleluia - He is risen!

How nice it is to have a holiday Monday and to be at home on this beautiful day looking out over the lake and remembering the past week, our Holy Week.

As I sat in the dark in the Cathedral during the Easter Vigil, listening to the readings from Genesis, Exodus and Isaiah, I wondered how many of you were captured by the theatre and the drama of the Triduum – the one feast over three days. At the Cathedral it seemed to me to be almost like musical theatre, capturing a great story accompanied by music, lighting and aromas. Those who gathered were there as a holy people, remembering and living the great mystery of our faith.

The Chrism Mass on the Tuesday night was a great celebration of our common priesthood and our call to serve. On this night we particularly remember the role of the ordained and their commitment to be conformed to Christ and faithful stewards of the mysteries of God as teachers and ministers of the Eucharist. And we prayed for Bishop Bill as a living image of Christ the Priest, the Good Shepherd, the Teacher and the Servant of all. This Mass is a wonderful expression of our local church here in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle and I could feel the mortar between the bricks swell with the responses from the many hundreds who gathered. It felt like a living organism, breathing in and out.

During these past days, as I was singing in the Cathedral choir, I was captivated by a teenage boy who was in the congregation. He had his feet washed on Holy Thursday, was there towards the front on Good Friday and then on Holy Saturday he was called forth to be received into the Church, and to be confirmed, and then he made his first Holy Communion. What struck me about him was his total engagement with what we were doing and his comfort in being with us, as he sat with his parents and responded willingly. I congratulated him and spoke with him at the conclusion of the Easter Vigil and was energised to share his joy in becoming part of our community. To my delight, he came back for Mass on Easter Sunday night with his mum and once again I could feel his being drawn into the deep mystery of our faith that is expressed during our Eucharist. I ask that you pray for him, and for all those who were baptised and received into the church in our diocese over Easter.

About thirty young adults participated in the all night ‘Watch and Pray’ vigil after the Holy Thursday ceremonies at the Cathedral. They stayed in ‘the Garden’, keeping watch and in prayer until the dawn of Good Friday. Please keep our young people in your prayers; they are truly a gift to our church. You may have encountered some of them as they served us after the Chrism Mass and then stayed until all the cleaning up was done.

A lady came up to me last night (Easter Sunday) and asked me to thank all those involved in the music at the Cathedral over the past few days. As part of the choir I found the hymns to be profound and those who accompanied us played their instruments with great skill. So many people made the liturgies of these days amazingly beautiful and I feel blessed to have been part of this. It was good to be a member of the Cathedral choir that has within it so many gifted voices. The Psalms sung at the Eater Vigil during ‘our listening with quiet hearts to the Word of God’ were very special.

Lord send out your Spirit and renew the face of the earth (Psalm 103)

Let us sing to the Lord; he has covered himself in glory (Psalm 15)

I will praise you, Lord, you have rescued me,
I will praise you, Lord, for your mercy.
I will praise you, Lord, you have rescued me,
I will praise you Lord. (Psalm 29)

You will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation (Isaiah 12)

Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia (Psalm 117)

And so we enter the Easter Season, remembering that we are baptised Priest, Prophet and King and are called to live this with joy, every day. We are to witness to the truth so that those who encounter us may be drawn to this. We are to go out into the world and make disciples. I love seeing the joy on the faces of the people as they are sprinkled with Holy Water, and even more so the joy on the face of either the Bishop or the Priest during the sprinkling. I pray that we may capture this joyful moment each day with gladness as we live and proclaim the Good News.

I do hope you are feeling this great sense of renewal in each of your parish communities. For me, as I travel the diocese I encounter it, and see the many blessings. Don’t forget to read or listen to Bishop Bill’s Easter Message of Christian hope.

Happy Easter!

Teresa Brierley Image
Teresa Brierley

Teresa Brierley is the Vice Chancellor Pastoral Ministries of the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.

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