The Pope St. John XXIII National Seminary Community held our annual Tenebrae Service in the Alumni Chapel on the evening of March 20th.
The mood was somber, quiet and reflective with a focus on Jesus' death and burial in the tomb. The distinctive feature of the service was the gradual extinction of all the lights in the chapel until only one candle, considered a symbol of our Lord, the inextinguishable and perpetual light of the world, remained and by its light all the members of our community departed in silence.
The origins of Tenebrae (Latin for shadows or darkness) are derived from an ancient practice of the Liturgy of the Hours for the last three days of Holy Week. The hours of Matins (now called Office of Readings) and Lauds (now called Morning Prayer) were combined and celebrated on the evening before the day to which they belonged. The celebration of Tenebrae had became widespread in monasteries and cathedral churches by the 12th century.
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