Holy Week 2012
Posted Saturday 7 April 2012
Blessing at Tongue
I started the week with the Palm Sunday service at Ullapool and gave my first address during that service. The weather was not quite so good but we managed a blustery walk at Stoer Lighthouse and a stunning drive around to Drumbeg before getting back to the house for Compline and supper.
On Monday we drove back to Inverness for the Chrism Mass, we hold this on the Monday of Holy Week as Maundy Thursday, the traditional time for the service, is just too hectic for clergy who are covering such large areas and who minister to so many congregations. This year the congregation in the Cathedral filled the choir and the front few pews of the nave, attendance at this service has grown each year and it is wonderful to see so many people coming to support the ministry of the diocese. Following lunch at the Cathedral we drove back West, picked up Helen at Inchnadamph and drove to Ullapool for the evening Eucharist. As we came out the snow was falling and as we drove north the blizzard closed in. The drive over Knockan Crag was exciting; by morning Scotland was white with snow, as the Bishop so rightly said “Cast nae a cloot till May is oot!!”
Tuesday and Wednesday followed the same pattern, offices and gentle walks during the day and evening Eucharist at Ullapool, the only difference on Wednesday was that we had to meet the Inverness bus as Beth and Mara came West to join us for a couple of days.
Maundy Thursday saw Jane and I off early, we arrived at the lay-by at Ledmore junction and gathered the rest of the party together, Fr Nicholas and Gilly from their car and Helen from hers. We then drove through Strath Oykel to Lairg and on to Tongue. Here we had lunch with an ever growing group of people, people travelling in from all over the North. By 1.30pm the chapel at the House of Prayer was full, we were joined by the local minister, presbytery clerk and by friends from the charge. We then celebrated Maundy Thursday and the Eucharist as I dedicated this gathering as the Church of St Mary at the Cross, Tongue in the Diocese of Moray, Ross and Caithness. We all then trooped outside as I blessed the ground on which the new labyrinth is to be built as a Christian symbol on this landscape.
Back we all then drove right through to Ullapool and the evening Eucharist and stripping of the Altars and finally the long drive back to the cottage, we had just completed 212miles, but it was worth it.
Good Friday saw us back on the road to Ullapool, this time we had to get Beth back to Inverness in time for work so she had to catch the 10.00am bus from Ullapool, we got her there in time and then spent a leisurely morning in the village. At 2.00pm we joined the Roman Catholic Congregation at St Martin’s Church for the Stations of the Cross before they and we all trooped back to St Mary’s for the Vigil, then off over the moor to Arpafeelie and a nights rest before the Easter Vigil at the Cathedral and so back to Ullapool. What a week!