Our bishop will be spending Easter week preaching in Enniscorthy this year.
In this introduction to his visit he talks here about how the manner in which Holy Week is kept being the best evidence of the temperature of the spiritual life of a parish and also focuses on his theme this year – the narrative of the cross as terminal illness.
Holy Week Services
with Bishop Michael Burrows
“It is a pleasure to be coming to Enniscorthy/Monart Union to travel the daily journey of worship and reflection with you during Holy Week.
It is truly the Christian Week of weeks, the one week of the year when the church continues, amidst all the distractions of today, to make a daily demand upon its members in terms of commitment to worship.
It should be a week when liturgy is magnetic, when preaching takes people on an imaginative journey from Palm Sunday to (and beyond) the Cross which is truly a continuum.
I always feel that one cannot truly celebrate the joy of Easter without having first carefully travelled the road to the Cross.
Indeed, I am quite convinced that the manner in which Holy Week is kept is the best evidence we have of the temperature of the spiritual life of a parish. As a bishop, I live on the move – never in the same place two Sundays running. It is such a joy and a source of refreshment to come to rest in a particular parish for Holy Week, to share with its worshipping community in each day and detail of this great pilgrimage of faith
The theme I am taking for my visit involves an approach that I have come to find illuminating, although it is challenging and even at times a little disturbing. Many years ago someone identified a number of phases to the human experience of a terminal illness. In a curious way the Passion narrative can also be read as the terminal illness of Jesus, as he faces the temptation to DENY his true destiny, as he is ANGRY at his situation, as he BARGAINS with God in the hope of delivery from pain, as he becomes DEPRESSED about his suffering and loneliness. And yet he also finds his way to a measure of ACCEPTANCE and indeed beyond the agony on the cross there lies a hope of HEALING AND PEACE. Thus the story of the Passion of the Lord becomes a timeless drama for all of us who may one day travel a similar road of mortality, and see Jesus as our hope and strength when faced with the most bitter realities of the human predicament.
Some years ago a sculptor who had faced (but happily survived) what seemed to be a possible terminal illness put on an exhibition in England an encounter with which profoundly affected me… It was a series of portrayals in plaster and stone of her own face and head, showing how they were visibly affected by the stages of her illness . . . in the midst of denial, anger and so on. She called her series of sculptures BALD STATEMENTS – a rather powerful phrase indicating the effects of her cancer treatment on her own face and hair. That provocative, yet strangely hopeful series of carvings has both given me my title and indeed inspired my series of reflections for Holy Week. And please be assured that despite this in some ways brutally realistic approach, my whole aim will be to help us travel like that artist to a place of healing and hope.
I do look forward so much to sharing the Holy Week journey with you, each day from Palm Sunday to Good Friday. While the six talks are to some extent self-contained, they really need to be heard and shared as part of an interlocking series. I therefore dare to ask you to set aside the few necessary hours in the Week of weeks to watch and pray daily.
The keeping of Holy Week is one of the best means we have available truly to refresh our souls
Michael Cashel Ferns & Ossory”
Holy Week Service’s
Palm Sunday – Denial 9.30am Morning prayer in St. Paul’s, Templescobin
11.30am Holy Communion in St. Mary’s Enniscorthy
Monday – Anger 7.30pm Compline in St. John’s, Clonmore
Tuesday – Bargaining 7.30pm Taizé in St. Paul’s, Templescobin
Wednesday – Depression 7.30pm Tenebrae in St. Mary’s, Enniscorthy
Maundy Thursday – Acceptance 7.30pm The Liturgy in St. Peter’s, Monart
Good Friday – Healing and Peace 7.30pm Evensong in St. Paul’s, Clone
Saturday – 7.30pm Easter Vigil in St. Paul’s, Templescobin
Easter Sunday – 9.45am Holy Communion & Baptism in St. John’s, Clonmore
– 11.30am Holy Communion in St. Mary’s, Enniscorthy