22 March 2008

Holy Saturday in Dijon

We hadn't had snow all winter, the temperature has been in the 40s and 50s, and today, I awoke to this:

There was something of a minor blizzard for the better part of the morning, and the rest of the day it's been lightly snowing. Lovely!

The Stations of the Cross yesterday at St. Bénigne were solemn and dignified, two knights of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre carrying a large wooden cross (to which was nailed a relic of the True Cross) to each station, while Abbé Garnier, the curé of the parish and also a member of the order, read a meditation and prayed, accompanied by the associate pastor and two altar servers with candles.

The enormous crucifix spanning the north wall of the church was entirely covered in white cloth, and the brass crucifix on the High Altar was shrouded in purple. As we filed to leave, we were each given a chance to venerate the True Cross, kneeling and kissing it. The confessionals at the cathedral have been full all week. I saw my confessor there today and, bless his heart, he looked exhausted.

St. Bénigne Cathedral before the Chrismal Mass.

The long table in the center aisle would fill with priests from the diocese, who would renew their vows this night. I was happy to see Abbé Garban, the F.S.S.P. priest in this diocese (whose Mass I attend during the week), present; collegiality among French priests celebrating Mass in the ordinary and extraordinary form can be a rarity here, where the split between those attached to each rite is far more severe than in America. Neighboring Switzerland was, after all, the home of Archbishop Lefebvre, and remains home to his foundation La Fraternité St Pie X. The Motu Proprio, I imagine, is having a harder time being incorporated in France than elsewhere. Still, the traditional Mass is indeed growing, and it is always good to see one who offers that Mass welcome among diocesan priests.

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