Wednesday, April 12, 2017, 7:30 PM
Reviving an ancient service that calls to mind the Passion in a darkened setting, the Diocese of Trenton’s Office of Worship will once again sponsor a Tenebrae service April 12 at 7:30 p.m. in St. Catharine Church, Spring Lake.
Bishop David M. O’Connell, C. M., will be the main celebrant of the solemn service, accompanied by diocesan priests. It was the Bishop who was instrumental in reinstituting the service in the Diocese during Holy Week 2016.
Tenebrae, which means darkness or shadows, is traditionally held in the evenings of Holy Week, particularly the Triduum, and takes place in limited lighting. The service portrays Jesus’ Passion with prayed and sung psalms, lessons and chants expressing grief.
Displayed on a triangular stand in the front of the church are 15 candles, which represent the 12 Apostles and the three days of darkness following Christ’s Death. One by one throughout the service, the candles are extinguished, eventually leaving the church in complete darkness with only the top candle remaining lit. That candle is then hidden during the closing prayer, after which a loud noise is made, symbolizing the earthquake that followed Jesus’ death on the Cross. The lit candle is then returned to its place, representing Christ’s victory over death. The congregation departs in silence.
“The Tenebrae Service is meant to inspire and awaken a sense of awe and wonder at the great Mysteries contained within the upcoming Holy Week and Easter liturgies,” said Carolyn Norbut of the diocesan Office of Worship.
Last year’s 90-minute Tenebrae service was well-received; the 300-seat capacity of St. Catharine Church was nearly filled. For more information, contact Carolyn Norbut, 609-403-7171.