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In the shadow of the cross

Clongowes Wood College held a moving Tenebrae Service marking the events of Christ passion and death. It took place in the college sports hall on Sunday 2 April at 8.30.  Students, families and friends came and left in silence for the liturgy directed by Director of Liturgy, Cyril Murphy. With special lighting and through the use of atmospheric music, readings, film and contemplation the dark drama of Good Friday and our Lord’s sacrifice was richly commemorated.

Internationally acclaimed Irish soprano Celine Byrne gave a moving performance of ‘Were you there when they crucified my Lord?’ as well as the ‘Lord’s Prayer’ by Malotte. Pupils from the Clongowes Schola sang plain and Taizé chants, and young Irish rock singer and music theatre professional Chris Currid and Karl Hayes, also students,  sang ‘Gethsemane’ and ‘Pilate’s Dream’ from Jesus Christ Superstar. Cellist Jane Hughes captured the sombre atmosphere with her playing of ‘Song of the Birds’ by Pablo Casals.

Tenebrae (Latin for shadows or darkness) is an ancient Christian liturgy of Holy Week dating back to the Middle Ages. It comprises a prolonged meditation on Christ’s suffering in the days leading up to and including his Crucifixion. This service was a semi-dramatised re-telling of the passion and death of Jesus with some contemporary reflections. It presented a fresh and vivid narrative in a more contemporary fashion, and the liturgy drew a strong parallel between the lonely and painful road to Calvary and the long and torturous journeys displaced persons are forced to make around the world today, seeking refuge in a not-so-welcoming world.

The hundreds who left in silence had much to think about as they made their way home.