Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

Cathedral will host Good Friday Ecumenical Tenebrae Prayer Service

by Father Patrick Hartin, for the Inland Register

(From the March 17, 2011 edition of the Inland Register)

Bishop Blase Cupich will lead an Ecumenical Tenebrae Service on Good Friday, April 22, 2011, at 7 p.m. at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes, 1115 W. Riverside Ave. in Spokane.

Bishop Cupich will be joined by five of the major Christian leaders of Spokane: Bishop James E. Waggoner, Episcopal Bishop of the Diocese of Spokane; Sheryl Kinder Pyle, Transitional Executive Presbyter, Presbytery of the Inland Northwest; Bishop Martin Wells, Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Eastern Washington-Idaho; Dale Cockrum, the Inland District Superintendent of the Pacific Northwest Conference United Methodist Church; and Bishop Walton F. Mize, Sr., Northwest Diocese of Christ Holy Sanctified Church of America, Inc.

This prayer service was inspired by Bishop Cupich’s observation that here in Spokane, as elsewhere in the country, there are many families whose spouses belonged to different Christian Churches. He suggested that it would be wonderful if the leaders of the different Christian Churches could come together and provide an occasion where such families, and indeed all Christian families, could come together in worship.

Good Friday provides the ideal opportunity for such a prayer service. Together we confess the Paschal Mystery as the very center and essence of our Christian faith. On Holy Thursday evening at the Last Supper, Jesus prayed for the unity of all those followers who were to come. By gathering together on Good Friday, the Christian leaders of Spokane, together with all Christians here in Spokane, wish to witness to our common Christian faith and to pray for a fuller Christian unity in the spirit of the final call and instruction of the Lord Jesus before his death.

Today, Christians of all different Christian Churches celebrate a Prayer Service, called tenebrae, that has its origins in the early church. In the Catholic Church, following the revision of the official prayer of the church, the Liturgy of the Hours (formerly called the Divine Office) in 1971, the Congregation for Divine Worship issued the General Instruction of the Liturgy of the Hours (1971, n. 210) that said: “It is also desirable that, if at all possible, the bishop take part with the clergy and people in the office of readings and morning prayer on Good Friday and Holy Saturday.” Since then further encouragements have continued to be made. Responding to this call, Father Steve Dublinski, the Vicar General of the Catholic Diocese of Spokane and Rector of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes, has been celebrating such a Tenebrae Service at the Cathedral on Good Friday evening.

The word tenebrae comes from the Latin word for “darkness.” Hence it is appropriately celebrated during the darkness of Good Friday evening. The central part of the service comes from hymns and readings that are taken from the Office of Readings for Good Friday.

This year the Christian Leaders of Spokane wish to celebrate this Tenebrae Service together. We invite you and your families to join together in common prayer with other Christian families from Spokane this Good Friday, April 22, at 7 p.m. at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes.

(Father Hartin is Ecumenical Relations Officer for the Diocese of Spokane.)

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