On Good Friday, I joined my sister and her family in Trafalgar Square for the Passion of Jesus. The square was full for the 12 noon performance, and I assume a similar attendance for the 3.15 pm performance. The play is introduced as an expression of the faith of those who produce and take part in it, and Archbishop Nichols concluded the performance by thanking them for bringing the play to Trafalgar Square. He also gave a second "thank you" to the Lord for the saving work represented in the play, before leading those gathered in the square in the Lord's Prayer. The Anglican Bishop of London was due to lead the blessing at the end of the 3.15 pm performance. It is all very moving, and a superb example of the new evangelisation in action.
I then walked up to Soho Square to take part in the Liturgy at 3 pm. Fr Sherbrooke explained when I spoke to him on the steps at the end of the liturgy that, once the restored Church had opened, he felt that it deserved beautiful music though, in his words, they "buy it in". (There was a retiring collection to help cover costs of music and flowers). The beauty of the surroundings combined with the starkness of a Church stripped of decoration made the professionally sung Passion quite stunning. Those singing clearly had a good sense, not just of the music, but of its Liturgical context and meaning, and this was discernable. The concluding words " .... and they laid him there" just seemed to drift into the following silence as an expression of the emptiness of the occasion. As someone said to me recently in a completely different context: Wow!