I have been intending to post a report on the Stations of the Cross and Eucharistic Adoration held in the parish last Sunday afternoon. This was an activity with the youth organisations of the parish - Beavers and Rainbows (youngest), Cubs and Brownies (younger), Scouts and Guides (young). I guess at about 80 people being there, but was a little disappointed compared to previous years attendance. I shouldn't complain - it was about 80 more people than if we hadn't run the event, and those who took part gained from doing so.
The "youngest" carried the cross in turn, and processed as a group to each station round the Church. The "younger" and "young" groups provided readers for each of the stations. At each station, I introduced the station and read the Scripture passage while the young people read the meditation and prayer. I have a set of words for "Were you there when they crucified my Lord", adapted to each of the stations, and we sang these between each station. The meditations have been edited from those written by (then) Cardinal Ratzinger in 2005, which have a motif of the Way of the Cross leading us to the Eucharist, a motif of Jesus as the grain of wheat that is buried, dies and then rises to new life as food for us all.
At the end of the Stations, Fr Tom processed with the Blessed Sacrament in the monstrance, accompanied by candles, to the altar for Adoration. "This is our God, the Servant King" was very powerful as we sang it during the procession. I gave a short catechesis on Adoration (see Pope Benedict in Cologne on proskynesis and adoratio, but I didn't use the words themselves ...) and then we spent a few minutes in silent Adoration. We then received the Lord's blessing in the Eucharist, and finished with a version of the Magnificat.
The young people's participation was excellent, both in following the Stations of the Cross and during the time of silent Adoration. The group leaders had done a very good job in organsing the readers, who read to a very high standard.
After running an event like this, I am always reminded of the value of "devotions" in the life of a parish, and their value particularly in relation to the Liturgy. They provide a wonderful opportunity for catechesis, too. I am also reminded that it is possible to use contemporary Christian music in a way that is reverent and genuinely prayerful - often, in the context of Eucharistic Adoration, such songs gain a depth of meaning that their (evangelical) writers may never have anticipated [thought for a future post: this must have some significance for understanding ecumenism].