Welcome to Our Lady Star of the Sea, Tilbury
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
It has been more than a month since we last gathered together in celebrating Masses at Tilbury and Stanford-le-Hope Parishes. This is very unfortunate, but we have to follow the advice of our Government to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 virus. To those of you who work for the NHS, supermarket staff, transport drivers and all other key workers THANK YOU VERY MUCH for your conscientious and excellent commitment to your vocations.
In my almost fourteen years as a priest I have never encountered such a prolonged experience of celebrating Masses without a congregation and it feels terribly strange and sad. As you know from scripture it says where two or three are gathered together in my name God is present in the midst of the gathering. It is obvious that I do not have two or three gathered with me (unless you include Raffles and Oreo by my side) when I celebrate private Masses since the lockdown. I, however, believe with great certainty of faith and hope that you are gathered with me in your thoughts and prayers, which is enough to know that God is with me in the celebration of the Liturgies of the Word and Eucharist.
We have now arrived at the celebration of the Paschal Triduum, which is explained below.
What is the Triduum?
The paschal Triduum consists of three full liturgical days counted from the evening of Holy Thursday through Easter Sunday. These three days form a unified liturgical celebration, so that the Triduum may be thought of as one event extended over some seventy-two hours, marked by occasional assemblies of the faithful.
The three days are, together, the principal celebration of the paschal mystery. This means that we will find all the elements of the paschal mystery woven together, sometimes in tension with one another. We proclaim the cross in the introductory verse of Thursday evening; we affirm the resurrection in the prayers after communion on Friday; we proclaim the death of the Lord as well as his resurrection on Sunday. In short, the Triduum is not an historical drama, not a re-enactment of the last days of Christ. It is the whole paschal mystery looked at from various sides.
This being said, it is also important to look at what each day of the Triduum is and what it celebrates.
1. The first day is Holy Thursday evening through Good Friday afternoon, emphasising the Lord’s passion and death.
2. The second day is Good Friday evening through Holy Saturday evening, commemorating the Lord’s burial and the keeping of the great Sabbath.
3. The third day is Holy Saturday night through Easter Sunday evening, the day of the Lord’s resurrection.
Before Pius XII restored the ancient Triduum observances in 1951, the liturgies of these days had moved to the morning hours and were supplemented by popular devotions of various kinds. The Lenten fast was then abandoned at noon on Holy Saturday. Some people still think of the Triduum as Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday, the last three days of the Lenten fast.
This reckoning persists in the prohibition of Masses on Holy Thursday morning, including funeral Masses, even though Holy Thursday morning is not properly part of the Triduum.
What is the Easter season?
What Sunday is to the week, the Easter season is to the year (see General Norms for the Liturgical Year and the Calendar 18). In other words, the fifty days of Easter together form the annual commemoration of the Lord’s resurrection. The Easter season begins with the service of light at the Easter Vigil and concludes with Evening Prayer II of Pentecost. These fifty days are also known as paschal time, the Great Sunday, or the days of Pentecost. The distinctive liturgical characteristics of these days are the singing of alleluia and the lighted Easter candle.
The Easter season is the time of mystagogical reflection and catechesis on the sacraments. The lectionary recalls the working of the Holy Spirit in the early Christian communities (Acts of the Apostles) and invites our deeper understanding of the sacramental life through the reading of John’s Gospel.
[Taken from the Lent, Triduum and Easter Answer Book by Paul J. Niemann]
You will also find a Pastoral Letter (Easter message 2020) from Bishop Alan to the faithful of the Diocese which is on the Newsletter and News page.
May I take this opportunity to thank you all for your continued and constant prayers, even though we are not gathered under the roof of our Parish Churches. I am very certain that you have been faithfully finding the time to participate as actively as possible in the livestream Masses that are available. As we continue to observe social distancing, I will continue to celebrate these Liturgies and other prayers, with you and your families very much in my heart and mind.
Wishing all of you a Happy and Holy Easter. As we believe that the Lord has conquered sin and death, He is truly Risen ... ALLELUIA, ALLELUIA, ALLELUIA! Let us now continue to faithfully pray that it will not be too long before we meet again. May you and your families remain healthy in the peace and love of our Risen Lord and be protected from all harm and danger.
Please continue to stay home – protect the NHS – save lives.
Please see our News and Newsletter page for updates
Please see our new Prayers for when we can't attend Mass page
- 96 Dock Rd
- RM18 7BT