April 2, 2015

Holy Thursday Prayer Service

It has been our custom for many, many years to mark Holy Thursday with a special two-part prayer service: a Liturgy of the Word with Mr. Mailloux '72 washing the feet of students and staff and the Stations of the Cross.  For the second year, St. Joseph Regional Junior High School joined us as well.

We began our prayer with an opening hymn by our choir and the Passover reading from the book of Exodus.  Zachary Dagan '18 proclaimed the reading for us.  Zach is Jewish and we always try to have a Jewish member of our community read that passage.  Following the Psalm refrain, Carolyn DeBeradinis '15 read the gospel passage from St. John when Jesus washed the feet of His disciples.  I had her pause at a certain point in the passage and then Mr. Mailloux went and washed the feet of our students and staff.  We had one boy and one girl from each grade, a boy and a girl from St. Joe's, Mr. Pascoal of our English department and Mrs. Verrier of our Guidance office get their feet washed.

From here we transitioned into the Stations of the Cross.  We prayed the traditional 14 stations with a short verse of a hymn sung by our choir in-between each one.  As we finished a station, we shut off 1-2 lights to the point that the entire gym was pitch black at the end.  We then had two boys carry in a relatively life-size cross and hold it up at center court.  We then put the spotlight on it and it cast a long shadow as the choir sang, "Here in the Shadow of the Cross."  It was a very dramatic and poignant ending and was the idea of our choir director Mr. Maurier '72.  I loved it.

I then asked that in the spirit of the prayer service and the solemn days ahead that we all leave the gym in complete silence...and they did.  You could have heard a pin drop as the students left, it was a nice surprise.

Tonight we will sponsor our 4th annual Holy Thursday pilgrimage during which we will visit five churches in Manchester and spend a few moments in prayer before each.  We will then top off the night with ice cream.  We will meet on the front steps of the Saint Anselm Abbey Church at 7:15pm and all are welcome.

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