Blesséd Holy Week

Hurriedly set-up and poorly organised (the perils of arranging yet another event during what is already your busiest week of the year), the Blesséd last night was one of those transformative masses which only happen every so often; although I was totally tied up in curating the worship, even I found it powerful.

What made it easier, of course, was actually having a Priest and Deacon celebrating who actually knew what they were doing: someone with liturgical sense and a feel for what this is all about. Mother Carrie was a fab celebrant, and got the whole video-synched eucharist off to a T, as well as writing the adaptation of the Old Catholic Rite, mixed in with John 17. Mother Emma was a great Deacon, calm and collected and holding it all together as the sacred minsters knelt at a tiny altar of repose.


High Points: Texting the peace to dozens of mobile phones simltaneously and the ringtones as we shared the peace: new media, new peace; Benediction (obviously), a combination of ritual and video that brought the traditional into the contemporary; a holy week liturgy which came together to say something important about this week.

Low Points: Losing the celebrant’s radio mic, forgetting so many bits and pieces because it was all in such a rush and most significantly, burning two huge holes in the carpet of the church when we set the palm crosses alight! My apologies to Fr. D [thankfully, it’s only four carpet tiles, and he isn’t that upset, but I feel bad anyway. For some reason, I completely failed to spot that the bowls would overheat, and so didn’t put anything under them – mea culpa!

This was the liturgy:

(some of these videos have already been posted)

the chairs are cleared. There are beanbags and perhaps sofas. The altar is not a traditional altar, but a low table festooned with candles and lilies like an altar of repose.

As people come into the sacred space, acting as a sort of gatekeeper, the celebrant is on the floor in the centre with a bowl and towels. Feet are washed as people enter as a rite of preparation and they are given a palm cross with “You are now prepared” stapled to it. At the door we also collect mobile telephone numbers for use later in the Liturgy.


Video: Call to Worship  (rerecorded)

Relax your body…
Open your mind…
Engage your spirit…
This is the house of God
Prepare to worship.

Life is an indescribable gift
Our worship is a celebration of that gift
(And of the giver)
In our worship we have rediscovered
God’s marvellous affirmation of life.

Tonight we invite you to bring all that you are
Into worship:
Your struggles and failures,
Your joys and fears,
Your faith and your doubts.
Your culture,
Your sensuality,
Your whole self.

Bring your self and be at home now
God is here
And all are welcome

Jonny Baker

Liturgical Greeting
Video: liturgical greeting  

In the name of the +Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit

Grace, Mercy and Peace from God, our Father,
the Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit be with you all
And also with you

Words of introduction from the celebrant to begin the journey

Penitential Rite
The Deacon, Mother Emma calls us to penitence.

Video: Why does my heart feel so sad?
Ritual: write in felt pens on the palms and bring them forward to be burnt

At the end: “You are forgiven” is shown on screen as the priest pronounces the absolution over the palms

Our Lord Jesus Christ, who has left power to his Church to absolve all sinners who truly repent and believe in him, in his great mercy forgive you your offences: and by his authority given to me, I absolve you from all your sins, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

The Lord has put away your sins, and pray for me, a sinner also

animation with words growing and moving, lightening flashes, images from the Passion of the Christ and resolving in the end to an image of the resurrection: Video:

GOD so loved the world that he GAVE his only son so that all who believe in him may have ETERNAL LIFE

Video: Cup of Suffering

On the altar is a chalice with red wine vinegar in it. No mention is made of this. The people come forward to taste of “the cup of suffering”

In the dark catacombs, sheltering from persecution and the sword, the faithful met to bring Christ into their midst. They greeted their brothers and sisters in baptism with a kiss of peace, a further communion, a closer unity as community, and they share something special, unique and holy.

At this point a text message “The Peace of the Lord be always with you. Share this.” is sent to all those who have given their numbers at the beginning. Business cards with the same are distributed, and the peace is whispered from one to another.

The peace of the Lord be always with you
And also with you

Let us offer one another a sign of God’s peace.

The peace is shared. Video: Airport Peace

Preface & Eucharistic Prayer
Source Text: John 17
Ritual: we gather in a large circle close to the altar and lolling around

Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him.

The Lord be with you
And also with you

Lift up your hearts
We lift them to the Lord

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God
It is right to give thanks and praise

This is the real and eternal life:
That all may know you,
the one and only true God,
and Jesus Christ, whom you sent.

He glorified you on earth
by completing down to the last detail
what you assigned him to do.

And now, Father, glorify us with your very own splendour,
the very splendour Christ had in your presence
before there was a world.

Christ spelled out your character in detail
to the men and women you call in faith.
They took it, and were convinced
that Christ came from God,
believed that you sent him,
and Christ’s life is on display in them.

Your word is a consecrating truth:
in the same way that Christ was given a mission in the world,
so we are given a mission in the world.
our goal to become one heart and mind,
just as you, Father, are in Christ and Christ in the Father
so that the world might believe that the heavenly Father,
in fact, sent his only Son.

So joining with all the company of heaven: the angel and saints, prophets, patriarchs and Our Blesséd Lady, we join in the prayers of heaven

Holy, Holy, Holy Lord, God of power and might
Heaven and earth are full of your glory, Hosanna in the Highest

Blesséd are they who come in the name of the Lord
Hosanna in the Highest!

Blessed are you,
God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Father of all mercy and God of all consolation.
Send now the Comforter and Helper into our midst,
your Holy Spirit,
to fill these gifts of bread and wine with your life,
so that they may be for us
the + body and blood of your beloved Son.

We can no longer forget
how he became one with us in suffering and death,
he who was totally one with you,
as he came to fulfil your will.

It was before the Passover.
As he loved his own who were in world,
he gave them a love unsurpassed by any.
He knew that he had come from you
and would return to you.

So, on the night he was handed over,
he took bread and gave you thanks;
he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying:
Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you;
do this in remembrance of me.

In the same way, after supper
he took the cup and gave you thanks;
he gave it to them, saying:
Drink this, all of you;
this is my blood of the new covenant,
which is shed for you and for many
for the forgiveness of sins.
Do this, as often as you drink it,
in remembrance of me.

As often as we eat this bread and drink this cup,
we taste and proclaim the mystery of faith:
Father, Son and Holy Spirit:
Make us one as you are one.

Until your Son comes again,
we do as he commanded us
by celebrating the memorial
of the passion, resurrection and ascension of your Christ.

He always lives before you as our high priest,
interceding for us
and bringing his only and perfect sacrifice
before you on our behalf.

Send the Spirit on your Church,
and guide it into all truth,
so that with Our Blesséd Lady Mary, the mother of our Lord,
all your saints,
and all people on earth
whom you have entrusted to your Son,
we may inherit the Kingdom and share in the glory
of Jesus Christ our Saviour;

by +whom, and with +whom, and in +whom,
in the unity of the Holy +Spirit,
all honour and glory be yours, +almighty Father,
forever and ever. Amen

Lord’s Prayer
Video: Short Modern,


We break this bread to share in the body of Christ
Though we are many, we are one body
Because we all share in the one bread

Video with Agnus Dei

Video: Tantum Ergo

The Priest places the newly consecrated sacrament into the monstrance, censes it during the video and then gives the people the benediction of the blessed sacrament.

Tea Light Candles with “Watch and Pray” are distributed

The Blessing is more than adequately done by the act of benediction.
Video: Joy Division: Atmosphere

You have been consecrated in the truth
And chosen by his grace
May your journey through this holy week
Bring you closer to the Lord

You are called to watch and pray
In anticipation of the Lord
May the Lord be before you always
In his most blessed sacrament

Through sharing in these holy sacraments
May you be challenged by the Lord’s Passion,
Redeemed by his Cross, and transformed by his Resurrection

Go. The Mass is ended, go in the peace of Christ
Thanks be to God