Monday, April 25, 2011

Experiencing Easter at Lac Brochet, MB 2011

The church and attached rectory at Lac Brochet. The weather over most of Holy Week was unusally cold, with snow flurries. This picture, taken some years back, could have been taken this Easter.

This year I was priviledged to spend the latter part of Holy Week in the Dene community of Lac Brochet. MB. This is the most northern of our missions in Manitoba. A strong faith community, the events of Holy Week were well attended. Especially notable was the depth and sincerity and number of confessions, as people came not only for forgiveness, but to also seek healing for painful emotions such as anger and resentment, and defects of character underlying the addictions that some were struggling with. I truly felt fulfilled as a priest and an archbishop. My deep admiration and appreciation of these humble folks grew deeper by the hour. Here the folks wash each others feet as part of the liturgy.

A strong tradition in Lac Brochet is the Holy Week Walk. This year a group of 25 persons went out hundreds of kilometers into the forest on Monday of Easter week to walk back to the community, praying for special intentions and offering their effort as a sacrifice to the Lord. They camped out in the forest each night with the help of a small group of community members. Thursday night they camped about 25 kilometers away and arrived just in time for the Good Friday Service. Unfortunately this means that they miss the Holy Thursday liturgies. We are trying to find a way to help them come back in for that event, as the Triduum is really one great liturgy, one event of the last days of Jesus life here on earth flowing into the next.

The walkers arrive with great solemnity and silence, placing their walking sticks at the foot of the altar. The cross they carry all the way is the one that we use for the veneration of the cross.

One of the lead singers, Fred Denecheze, led the Way of the Cross in the Dene language from breginning to end for a couple dozen of the faithful who had not participated in the Holy Week Walk.

An invitation to an outdoor barbeqque in minus 15 degree weather was a welcome break from a steady stream of folks celebrating reconciliation. Here a group of elders are enjoying a feast of caribou meat.

The beauty of the people of God shines forth the brightest when they are gathered around the altar, the baptism font and the Paschal candle at the renewal of their baptismal promises.


rox said...

Oh I love that last photo with the lighting it is just so beautiful
Is there anyway there could be a visiting priest walk with those people on Thursday ? there must be a in the middle solution ☺ I always think how blessed the Von Trapp family was to have a priest travel with them . my dh worked in Lac Brochet several times helping on the school .
Thank You again for having this blog and sharing

beth bennett said...

A real blessing to share this most Holy week with others