The TC chapel was filled to maximum capacity for the solemn Tenebrae service presided by Rev. David Thayer, P.S.S., who, for almost 20 years, has annually opened this invitation to the entire Catholic University community. With the meditative intonations of the Theological College Schola choir, led by David Lang, participants are invited to contemplate the dark forces of sin and death that seem to extinguish all light, only to be vanquished themselves by the Light of the World, Jesus Christ, crucified and risen. This service, dating back to at least the 9th century, is lit only by candlelight that is slowly extinguished, candle by candle, until only the Christ candle remains illuminated and is carried out before the Canticle of Zechariah. The poignancy of this service at TC was further underscored by the singing of the haunting Lamentations of Jeremiah and readings from the Book of Hebrews – which were more profoundly examined in Fr. Thayer’s homily on the nature of sin as darkness. At the end of the service, the choir banged their books to simulate the sound of an earthquake, at which point the candle of Christ returns, in a dramatic foreshadowing of the Paschal Candle procession during the Easter Vigil.
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