It's Easter Monday, and like most clergy, I'm laying low, recovering from the Triduum. Yesterday we had a Sunrise service in English at 6:00am, then la Misa Pascual en español a las 9:30am. Then the Lovely Mona and I drove about an hour and a half to El Valle de Anton, where I celebrated an Easter Mass with the developing congregation of St. Mary's of the Valley. Many people of Ciudad de Panamá go to the Interiór for Pascua, and they were all returning home at the same time we were. It took three hours to get home! When we got home, I took Chompita out for a walk. Then the Lovely Mona and I had dinner and collapsed into our bed by 9:30 pm. Big day! Also, check out Eric Jackson's photos of the Annual Grace Walter’s Easter Hat Contest at the Museo Afro-Antillano. The Lovely Mona and I loved Grace Walters; she was a dear friend and, boy, did she have hats! You will notice that we have some pretty good hats at St. Christopher's yesterday, too!
Also, Tía Sue has some great Palm Sunday photos here. Check 'em out!
So, here are our photos from the Triduum:
Foot washing. We don't have a sign-up sheet or anything, we just invite those who want their feet washed or want to wash other's feet to come up front.
The Reserved Sacrament in the Garden of Repose
People keep vigil here
Stripping the Altar
I never experienced this until I came to San Cristóbal. We take the remaining wine in the chalice and pour it on the four corners and center of the altar, like the priest in the sin offering liturgy in Leviticus 4. Then wine is then spread about the altar using some Palm fronds from Sunday's liturgy.
As we have in the past, we had a Service of Three Hours. We begin with a bilingual version of the Stations of the Cross; the same version we used on Friday evenings throughout Lent. Then we use a bilingual version of the Good Friday service from the 1979 Book of Common Prayer. I sang the Passion from the Gospel of John. We also had some meditations; Reverenda Nancy Eswien from the Diocese of California, my friend and seminary classmate, gave a wonderful meditation on The Trial of Jesus. We sang some hymns, and the Lovely Mona and I played some duets. Last year the service ended fifteen minutes early, but this year we ended 15 minutes late, so it all balances out.
The Great Vigil of Easter
I would love to hold the Great Vigil at 9:00 pm and then have a big party afterwards, like we did at St. Mark's in Berkeley, but people don't feel safe coming in the neighborhood at that time of the evening, plus it's difficult to find reliable public transportation at that time of night, so we hold our vigil at 6:00 pm. It gets dark once we get into the church anyway, and we do the baptisms in the dark, illumined with candlelight. We don't hold a party afterwards as we have a Sunrise service Easter morning at 6:00am and the place is always full for that service, so I can't change that tradition.
We had eleven baptisms scheduled, but only eight showed up. Actually, just before we started the Easter Eucharist of the Vigil, I was told that the other three were on their way, but I told the person it was too late and we'd have to do it another time. I guess they thought we were going to wait to start the service until they arrived, even though they didn't even start to leave their house until after 7:00pm!
One Easter tradition I did bring from St. Mark's, Berkeley, is ringing bells every time we say "Alleluia" throughout the season of Easter. We love it!
Lighting the new fire
Singing the exsultet
Alleluia! Christ is risen!
The Lovely Mona doesn't come to the Sunrise service, but she did arrive in time for la Misa Pascual to say "hi" to everyone and take photos. Everybody was on the patio enjoying bun and cheese, a West Indian Easter tradition. Bun is a kind of fruit cake, and we all eat slices of cheese with it. Nowadays THAT is my Easter treat rather than chocolate bunnies.
Here are photos of the Easter crowd
This little girl is named Hillary. The Lovely Mona and I see her as the solution to the recent arguments in the Democratic Party. She was the cutest angel at the Epiphany Pageant when she was five years old. Now she's seven and a Big Girl.
These are the Neighborhood Girls. They love to sit together in the front row, and sometimes Professora Priscilla has to remind them to behave!
The Dickens Sisters
During the announcements we brought up the niños to answer some questions about Holy Week and Easter. Everyone got a prize.
Here are the niñas answering questions and winning prizes, too! The Lovely Mona wants to point out those pink boots!
After the service, the Egg Hunt.
Here I am at the altar in El Valle, with Shirley at the piano.
Here are some of the flowers in Shirley's garden.
A black Bird of Paradise
Look at this huge tree branch! And lots of stuff is growing on it. It's part of Shirley's garden.