Anyone who is new to Assumption Grotto, or recalls when they first came, can relate to what I am saying here.
There is something about being new to Grotto and the "surprise factor". Each week, and each holiday would bring more surprises - just in the manner of how things are celebrated in contrast to the casual atmosphere typical in modern Catholicism.
I'm now seeing things for the second time, and I can say that nothing beats the climax of Holy Week at Assumption Grotto. With each day that went by from Holy Thursday to the Easter Vigil, the intensity grew. I never felt more exhausted trying to capture in photos all that I was experiencing and I had no idea what was going to happen next.
Holy Thursday is awesome, and well attended even though it is not an obligation to go to Mass. This day is special to all priests as it marks the Lord instituted the Eucharist and the priesthood. At Assumption Grotto, only the feet of males are washed, just as in the Lord's time. Last year, I made an error when transferring photos from my camera and lost the first half of the Mass when the foot-washing took place.
The solemn Good Friday service is something well worth commuting to Grotto for. I don't want to call it opera style, but it's nearly that as the entire passion is sung, and there is chanting, and polyphony. I can't count the times I got choked up because I have NEVER seen anything so beautiful, much less for Good Friday (see Good Friday 2006 photos here). Three hours never seemed so short as I stood nearly the entire time capturing photos from the balcony. I am going to attempt to capture video this year, but since I am an amateur, I'll have to leave the quality in the hands of the Blessed Mother, just as I did my liturgical photography when I first began taking photos on August 15, 2005.
The Easter Vigil caught me off guard too. I had been to them at other parishes over the years and particularly enjoyed watching catechumens being received into the Church. However, once again, Assumption Grotto outdid anything I had ever seen. It was pure majesty - something that took the casual God and man relationship into something in which God's greatness is magnified before us.
Easter Sunday features the Orchestral Mass at the 9:30am Latin Novus Ordo. Last year, the noon Mass featured the Assumption Schola. This is a group of men who periodically sing at Grotto. Fr. Perrone belongs to this schola and there are several photos of him, along with them in that previous link. I haven't confirmed they will be there this year, but if any are reading, I'd ask them to email me or place the info in the combox. I've lost the website they had so I need that again too.
Reverence should flow with awe for the majesty of God and the liturgies I experience at Assumption Grotto just lift my soul to the one who said, "I AM"
More photos of Easter Season 2005, and more, can be found in this post. I was new to blogging and had not come up with a system yet of collecting events as I have now, in my sidebar (See Photo Post Collections).