Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Starting on Spy Wednesday --

So called because today marks the day in the life of Christ that Judas bargained to become the spy of the Sanhedrin, the Church celebrates the Tenebrae service, the remote beginning, actually, of the Sacred Triduum.

Kevvy and Michelle drove to Omaha yesterday to join the choir (and their brothers, Dominic and Jon) for the Tenebrae service.

Today and during the Sacred Triduum, the Matins and Lauds of the Divine Office are often sung in a haunting service known as the Tenebrae service ("tenebrae" meaning "shadows"), which is basically a funeral service for Jesus. During the Matins on Good Friday, one by one, the candles are extinguished in the Church, leaving the congregation in total darkness, and in a silence that is punctuated by the strepitus meant to evoke the convulsion of nature at the death of Christ. It has also been described as the sound of the tomb door closing. During the Triduum, the Matins and Lauds readings come from the following day's readings each night because the hours of Matins and Lauds were pushed back so that the public might better participate during these special three days (i.e., the Matins and Lauds readings heard at Spy Wednesday's tenebrae service are those for Maundy Thursday, the readings for Maundy Thursday's tenebrae service are from Good Friday, and Good Friday's readings are from Holy Saturday's Divine Office).

We won't have the Wednesday services at our parish, but our day will be busy here at home. In fact, the rest of our week will be really busy. I don't grudge the big kids participating in the liturgical week in Omaha (we will get them home the week after Easter), but, jimminy, I'll miss their faces -- and their help!

Here's our routine:

Spy Wednesday

*Spring cleaning:
Remove all the extraneous decorations around our statues, take down any winter decorations, including the Palm Sunday picture we hung on Sunday. Take our winter blankets off the backs of our couches; clean out the wood stove and store the wood basket until next fall. Sweep, mop, clean the windows, etc.

* Pretzel making (see below)
Maundy Thursday

*Finish up the cleaning
between 2 and 3 pm to accomodate fasting for Maundy Thursday Mass at 7:30

Lamb , asparagus with hollandaise, herbed fingerling potatoes, hot cross buns (our non-sweet version) wine

At the dinner table, everyone has a glass of wine (or Sprite with a drop of wine) and by Dan's plate we place a basket of hot cross buns (actually in our house they are rolls with a cross cut into the top before baking). After we pray grace, Dan makes the sign of the cross over each bun and hands it down the line until each member of the family has one. Then we eat our buns and drink our wine while Dan reads the Gospel of the Last Supper. After which we eat the lamb and the rest of the meal. Then, Mass in the evening, after which the oldest of us will take turns at all night adoration.

Good Friday

Friday is a quiet day. As much as we are able, we speak in quiet voices and as little as possible, in memory of the solemn events in Christ's life on good Friday. (This might be a little difficult this year, though, because Paul and Nicole will be arriving some time Friday morning to spend Easter with us!) The Littles will stay home with Dan this year, while I take Theresa (10) and Catherine (8) with me to the Tre Ore between noon and three. When we come home, we'll have the remainder of the Hot Cross buns with a simple clear broth vegetable soup that Dan will have prepared. Then we'll watch The Passion.

Holy Saturday

* Preparation and decoration day. We usually watch Jesus of Nazareth while we work this day. We'll bring out our spring wreaths and decorations. Deck out Our Lady's niche with flowers and ribbons. Make sure everyone's bathed and hair washed by bedtime. Get out everyone's Easter clothes and make sure they're pressed and ready to go for Easter Mass. Color eggs, prepare Easter goodies, and begin work on the Easter feast.

* Our extended family will meet out here at the farm Easter afternoon bringing various dishes, but we are making the ham, rolls, broccoli salad, and this year, a birthday cake for Gabriel, who will turn 5 on the big day!

*10:30 Paschal Vigil

Easter Sunday

* ...begins for us at midnight with Midnight Mass, following the Paschal Vigil,

* My sister (Bless her!) is staying home with the Littles while Dan, Theresa, Cathy, and I attend the Paschal Vigil and Midnight Mass; she'll take Anna and Gabe with her to morning Mass.

* When we get back, Dan and I will lay out all the Easter goodies and decorate the dining room table, with a place set for each child with their own special treats. And then, bedtime for us...

* ...and God willing, the children will let us sleep in!

* And then, the fun really begins in the morning. The "candy bar" will be open to all. The house will smell like ham and rolls baking. One of the big kids (maybe Paul this year?) usually hides the Easter eggs -- outdoors if the weather's good, indoors otherwise -- and we'll have a hunt after the Easter feast, which will be around 2 or 3 in the afternoon. And then, we'll have a little birthday party for Gabe in the early evening.

~ But, now, I really have to get busy.... I have a refrigerator to clean and some kiddos to organize into cleaning their rooms!

~ And just in case I don't have a chance to get back on the computer...

We all wish everyone a happy and fruitful Holy Week and a Blessed Easter!

* Here's our recipe for Soft Pretzels
(makes 12 -- but we double it -- at least)
(Go here for the fascinating history of the pretzel and its connection to Holy Week)
1 (.25 ounces) package active dry yeast
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/8 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups warm water
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup bread flour

2 cups warm water
1 Tablespoons baking soda dissolved in 6 qt. water in large pot
egg + water for eggwash
2 Tablespoons butter, melted
2 Tablespoons coarse pretzel salt or kosher salt

In a large mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast, brown sugar and salt in 1 1/2 cups warm water. Stir in flour, and knead dough on a floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, and turn to coat the surface. Cover, and let rise for one hour. Meanwhile, place parchment on cookie sheets and oil paper. After dough has risen, cut into 12 pieces. Roll each piece into a 2 to 3 foot, finger-thick rope. With the rope, make a U, cross the ends, twist, and attach to the center of the bottom of the U. Place on the parchment-lined sheets and let rise, uncovered, 15 to 20 minutes.

While they are rising, bring the baking soda + water in the pot to a boil. When the pretzels are risen, boil the pretzels in the water for about 3 minutes, turning once, til puffed a bit. Place on sheets and brush with eggwash.Bake at 450 degrees F for 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Brush with melted butter, and sprinkle with coarse salt



GrandmaK said...

God bless!! Cathy

Heather Jaracz said...

Have a Blessed Easter!!!

Laura said...

You could write a book about the ways your family holds to Catholic tradition.
I did NOT know today was called Spy Wednesday.

MightyMom said...

that's fascinating!

you do an awful lot!

I keep having to remind myself it's Good Friday and actually forgot this morning when I ran through ChickfilA for nugget-rolls.

ahhh well.

I'll get better with time and practice I guess.

Tomorrow's my first communion and confirmation :-) At the Easter Vigil Mass 8pm.

Happy Easter!