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Ordained in 2011, Father Friel served for five years as Parochial Vicar at St. Anselm Parish in Northeast Philly. He is currently studying toward an STL in sacred liturgy at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
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"Since such is the nature of man that he cannot easily without external means be raised to meditation on divine things, on that account holy Mother Church has instituted certain rites, namely that certain things be pronounced in a subdued tone (canon and words of consecration) and others in a louder tone; she has likewise made use of ceremonies such as mystical blessings, lights, incense, vestments, and many other things of this kind in accordance with apostolic teaching and tradition, whereby both the majesty of so great a sacrifice might be commended, and the minds of the faithful excited by these visible signs of religion and piety to the contemplation of the most sublime matters which are hidden in this sacrifice."
— Council of Trent (Session XXII)

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Hebdomas Sancta
published 2 April 2012 by Fr. David Friel

The theme of our week has been set: we are about meditation on the Lord’s Passion. It would be fitting for this meditation to extend throughout all of the coming week.

Whether one is able to attend the parish Triduum services or not, this week is an opportunity to delve into the Passion. It is an occasion to imagine its scenes and to relive these ancient events anew.

For my own part, every year I like to choose a different character in the story and spend Holy Week trying to experience things as they would have experienced them. I have found it a very fruitful practice to choose a character who speaks directly to me at this time in this particular year.

Maybe you want to spend some time as Mary, with all her special qualities as the mother of Jesus. Perhaps you’ve been asked to do something you really don’t want to do, and so you identify with Simon of Cyrene in the Fifth Station. Or maybe you’re struggling in your faith, and Peter appeals to you. Perhaps you feel like G.K. Chesterton, who wrote a famous poem from the point of view of the donkey that Jesus rode into Jerusalem. Or maybe a name that you have never before given any attention caught your attention during the reading of the Passion this year: Joseph of Arimathea or Nicodemus or Barabbas or Mary Magdalene or Veronica or Salome or the Good Thief.

Wherever you feel drawn, try to imagine what Jesus looked like to that person, and how they felt, and what they might have been thinking. If we engage in that kind of meditation on the Passion, this week has the potential to be truly “Holy.”