April 13, 2006

Holy Week is one of my favorite times of the year. For me, between the obvious religious aspect of it and childhood memories and cherished family traditions (which still continue today), it is for me poignant, sentimental, and powerful emotionally.

Sure, we did the whole Easter egg/basket thing when we were young like everyone else, but I don’t remember ever being that crazy about it. First of all, I never liked hard-boiled eggs – still don’t. Second of all, you used vinegar with the Easter egg coloring kit, and I’ve always detested the smell of vinegar. Finally, those awful-sweet yellow marshmallow chicks or multi-colored jelly beans never turned me on. Chocolate Easter bunnies – the only kind anyone should get for Easter, by the way – were always good, however: especially if they were the white chocolate kind. Yum.

Easter Sunday also meant a tradition my family still practices to this day – joining our cousins’ family for dinner at Frank Giuffrida’s Hilltop Steakhouse restaurant in Saugus, MA. Growing up, it was Easter at the Hilltop with the families where you brought your new girlfriends, wives, or significant others, showed off your new clothes or facial hair, talked about who you saw or didn’t see at church services, or caught up on all the family happenings since Christmas. Most times we’d have somewhere between 10-12 in attendance, but some years I recall as many as 16, maybe more, gathered around one noisy table covered with salads, steaks, and cocktails. While the numbers have declined in recent times as people have either come, gone, relocated, or simply gotten older and grayer, it’s still a family tradition. Perhaps some day we’ll stick a fork in it and leave the memories to the ages, but not this year: I’ll be seeing everyone there in just a few days…

Even while young, however, I remember always being entralled by the “real” Easter – you know, The. Religious. Thing. I still remember us being given our “might boxes” at the start of Lent and filling them with pennies (or was it quarters?) – then, on Holy Saturday afternoon, we would go to afternoon service and we’d all bring our boxes forward and fill the back of a hewn-out cross with them. As I got older and joined the church choir, I fondly remember practicing and singing specially-chosen Holy Week music and Easter anthems with my mom, dad, and aunt for my godfather Milt when he was music director at our church. Milt took the joyful aspect of Easter Sunday music VERY seriously. Whether it was the hideous “Hail Thee, Festival Day” or the marvelous “Come Ye Faithful, Raise the Strain”, or “Jesus Christ is Risen Today”, all Easter hymns would be played at a breakneck pace that would leave the more elderly members gasping for breath at the end – especially as we tried to complete our recess out before Milt would jam the brakes on at the end. Amazing, the things one remembers…

Of course, the music of Holy Week was just one aspect of how emotionally-charged the days leading up to Easter would be for me. The Easter Story of the Last Supper, the foot-washing, Jesus’ betrayal, the Crucifixion, and the Empty Tomb charged my imagination and touched my soul. The Thursday night vigil into Good Friday – where you signed up for blocks of time to make sure Jesus was never alone in your church between the end of Maundy Thursday and the Good Friday service – was always powerful for me: much better than Palm Sunday with its boring, repetive processional in and about the church property and amateurish attempts by parishioners to read aloud The Passion and bring it to life. Being a chalice bearer or lay reader during Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, or, better yet, at the glorious Easter Sunday service was always special, but nothing will ever come close to the magnificent high-church traditional Saturday night Easter Vigil at the Church of the Advent in Boston> Whooo-eee, it NEVER got better than that. Christ is Risen, indeed. Alleluia!

So, I guess you can put me down as a bonafide Holy Week fan.

I’m not the only one who cherishes their Holy Week memories, however. Rev-ed does too. And, The Anchoress shares her love of Holy Week from a Roman Catholic perspective.

She also has a link to Pope Benedict’s Easter message. Read it – it is very powerful indeed. The more I hear of this Pope, the more I like him.

Not to let such a (I hope) positive and uplifting post down, but contrast Benedict’s Easter message with this drivel by none other than the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Frank Tracy Griswold. “…his deathless, reckless reconciling love”? Sounds like a bad line from an even worse country & western tune. And they wonder why ECUSA is hemorrhaging membership? In the Episcopal Church, the fish is rotting from the head down. This message alone is almost enough to make you turn Roman Catholic. Pathetic.

Back to happier thoughts of Easter and springtime: on the mourning dove front, it’s Day Three, with still one egg showing – looks like an only child! – and a mom and dad doing their typical day/night shift thingy to maintain faithful vigil.

Filed in: Religion & Culture by The Great White Shank at 14:55 | Comments Off on Holy Week, Holy Cow!
No Comments

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.


Search The Site

Recent Items


September 2021
April 2021
January 2021
December 2020
November 2020
October 2020
September 2020
August 2020
July 2020
June 2020
May 2020
April 2020
March 2020
February 2020
January 2020
December 2019
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006



4 Goodboys Only

Site Info