So I’m not sure if there has ever been a Holy Week where I went to all the services until this spring in
At the church in
I avoid going to church on Maundy Thursday in the
I will say that the missionary to
I went to a service in the morning at St. Jacques which was a pretty simple service, but following that service we made our way down to St. Trinité Cathedral. Since the earthquake an open air cathedral had been constructed next to the ruins of the old cathedral. It was more than meaningful to worship there.
The service lasted for about 3 hours as what I believe is call the last acts, or the last words or something like that were read followed by a sermon for each one. There were 5 priests and they took turns preaching. At the end of all the readings the Bishop would come to finish the service.
Admittedly it was hard for me not to be antsy during the service but I enjoyed singing the hymns in French and Creole as well as watching two little boys playing but there are two parts that stick out to me the most.
Towards the beginning of the service as a reading was read I turned around, looking behind me and saw Bishop Duracin sitting in a car just watching and listening. He remained there for the rest of the service until it was time for him to process in and do his part. For me, it was nice to see him taking a few moments of quiet to himself, one of the few moments of peace I believe he has had since the earthquake. A time of reflection to think and watch his people worship. I couldn’t help but wonder what he was thinking.
The second most memorable image I have is during the service when one of the acolytes carried the cross up aisle playing the role of Jesus with the rumble and destruction in the background. Looking at the picture is better than me describing it so here it is…Easter Vigil
To be honest I didn’t pay all that much attention to the service that evening (I was getting a bit churched out) but instead looked at the people around me. I was sitting next to the same women I had for the past services sharing her books as usual. At this point she was so used to hearing me read in French next to her that I actually think she thought I was good at French and would say things to me quickly in French and ask me questions. I usually just nodded or mumbled something in response.
There were some people I recognized from other times I had been at the church from before the earthquake. A mom who I had seen at the Christmas eve service, then with her exceptionally chubby cute son, another older women who usually talked to the women I sat by, but as the service started I looked and I did not seen the older woman from earlier that day.
The service was done with the lights out. Everyone brought their own white candles that were lit with a fire started at the beginning of the service. I began to observe the different candles. Many of the members that were present for the service are a more well off than the average Haitian so it was interesting to compare the candles. There was a thick long candle, short white candle in glass, candles with holders so wax wouldn’t land on their hands…
Then the old petite women walked into the church. She sat near the women I was sitting with. She still had a limp and had changed her clothes from earlier. I saw she had brought a candle, a simple white candle, the kind that you put in a candle stick. Clearly a much less expensive candle. She lit it and tried to hold it during the service while balancing her prayer book and hymnal. I noticed that wax was starting to drip on her hands and it seemed as if she was looking for a way to make it better while at the same time trying to ignore it and continue to pay attention to the service. Next thing you know the women next to me helped her out and they were able to drip wax on to the ground and created a stand for the candle. It stuck out to me as a very sweet simple act of kindness, the rest of the service is kind of a French blur.
I couldn’t help but think of the older woman for much of the rest of my time in