The Church Militant

The F.S.S.P. website has some wonderful photos of St. Stephen’s in Sacramento. As you can tell, we have quite the army of altar boys – I think it is close to 90 or thereabouts. Jonathan is there on the left, underneath the palm tree but with his face partially covered.

The traditional Palm Sunday liturgy still catches me by surprise. It runs about 2 hours and 15 minutes: by the end of the liturgy the altar boys are drenched in sweat. The symbolism of the priest pounding on the church door is profound and emotional. We languish in our sins on the brink of despair, captives of the evil one, but Christ the Redeemer breaks through enemy lines by force and violence. He will not be stopped. He will free the captives, but at a terrible price. The Gospel readings are the longest of the liturgical year (if I am not mistaken) and, because we are standing, they serve as an ascetical complement to the Passion narrative. The recessional music is ominous and brooding. We follow Christ, not into the light – not yet – but now into the darkness of Mordor. Holy Week has arrived.

2 thoughts on “The Church Militant

  1. You might want to see if you can reduce the width of this picture, because it’s dropped your sidebar to the bottom of the page. I will say all those altar boys are a refreshing sight. At my church they used to be called the ‘Knights of the Altar.’ Now that we have girl altar boys (the Tavern Keeper’s phrase), I don’t know what they’re called.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s