MARIA STEIN — The Mara Stein Shrine hosted a Lenten Tenebrae Service in the Adoration Chapel on March 22. The service was presided over by Shrine rector, the Rev. John Tonkin, and music was sung by the choir of Sacred Heart Church in McCartyville.
Tenebrae is Latin for darkness and is an appropriate name, as the service plays on the growing darkness of the Passion narrative. For each reading proclaimed or hymn sung a candle is put out. By the end of the reading of the death of Jesus, the chapel is plunged into darkness and a great noise is made to signal the chaos the world is left in without its savior.
The celebration of Tenebrae dates back centuries, but the liturgical celebration ended in the late 1950s with the liturgical renewal. This devotional practice at the Shrine was based on many of its original details. There are 15 candles lit for service and the Christ candle remains lit, as Christ never really leaves. The readings from Lamentations describe Jerusalem’s betrayal of God, which have been a cornerstone of the celebration for centuries. They were paired with Gospels readings of Christ’s betrayal by those close to Him. The antique “clacker” was also used after proclamation of the Crucifixion. This blend of traditional elements in a modern style breathes new life into a timeless Christian tradition.
The prayer of Tenebrae causes people to enter more deeply into the darkness and loneliness of Christ’s Passion. Followers are urged to think of ways they have turned their back on God and remedy those, so that they can celebrate Easter and the gift of salvation more meaningfully.
The Maria Stein Shrine of the Holy Relics provides faith nourishment and spiritual renewal through opportunities for prayer and pilgrimage and inspiration from the lives of the saints. People from around the world visit the shrine to explore and enjoy this environment rich in holiness and history.
The Shrine is located at 2291 St. John’s Road in Maria Stein. For more event information, visit www.mariasteinshrine.org.