About 37 YEARS AGO
The Passover Supper has been running in our parish on the Wednesday of Holy Week since being proposed originally, about 1977 by Fr John Heaney who accompanied Marie Livesey to the one at Ingol. It was decided that we should run our own, so with Marie Corbishley as the first 'hostess' - taking the place of the mother as in the Jewish Passover - it ran for quite a few years in the old parish centre, which, having no windows, lent quite an atmosphere to the event. It was as if, like the original supper which it celebrates, it had to take place in secret for fear of persecution. The numbers of those attending is limited by the facilities to about 45, which still leaves room for many people - including children - who have never been before to experience ‘How the Mass began’
showing how the Mass began, with Jesus, as a faithful
sharing the Jewish Passover with his disciples
"Do not think that I have come to abolish
the Law of Moses
and the teaching of the Prophets.
I have not come to do away with them, but to fulfil them. "
Jesus shared the Passover with his disciples just before he was arrested,
tried and condemned to death on the cross.
Our meal follows the order of events and rituals of the Jewish feast and embodies
links to our Christian beliefs and the celebration which we call the Eucharist (Thanksgiving)
- the One sacrifice which replaces all those of the old covenant.
with salted water, bitter herbs, unleavened bread and haroseth
includes the egg -
a sign of new life
Matzos - unleavened bread
"Matzah is the bread of affliction which the Israelites took with them out of Egypt. They baked unleavened cakes of the dough as it had no time to rise."
mix of fruit, nuts and spices
"reminds us of the mortar used by the Israelites when as slaves they made buildings for the Egyptians. The pleasant taste of the haroseth is a symbol of God's kindness which made slavery easier to bear."
| Maror - bitter herbs
"..because the Egyptians enslaved the Israelites. It is written, 'With hard labour at mortar and brick and in all sorts of work in the field,
with all the tasks ruthlessly imposed on them.' "
Today as well, where slavery remains, we taste its bitterness.
|Around the tables are
also bowls of salt water into which the bitter herbs are dipped.
The salt water recalls the hardness of Pharaoh's heart and the tears shed by the Israelites when enslaved in Egypt.
photos from Passover 2008
Preparing the tables - 2008
above - the egg is served as a starter, with salad
right - -wine (with non-alcoholic alternatives)
baskets with unleavened bread
bowls of bitter herbs (watercress here) and salt water
bowls of haroseth
candles, especially the traditional 7-branched 'menorah'
|Christians re-enact the gathering in the Upper Room when Jesus celebrated Passover with his apostles for the last time|
Blessed are you,
and reads a prayer
It is a reminder of
For us they recall Christ,
the light of the world.
|The theme of Passover is the redemption from bondage in Egypt by the sacrifice of a lamb.||Pasch or Easter Eggs
: It was the practice from Roman times to begin the
meal with an egg, the symbol of new life and new growth and of hope. A
whole egg is placed in front of the leader and our meal begins with a
salad starter with half a hardboiled egg, and continues with a lamb
dinner and a (non-traditional) fruit salad.
The central part of the Jewish
meal was of course the lamb which had to be killed
The various parts of the Jewish meal are preserved in the Mass:
|A place is set for Elijah for
"an ancient custom reminds us that Elijah the prophet will return to earth before the end of days and hope is kept alive that he will join a group celebrating Passover."
The Cup of Elijah
|Four ceremonial cups of wine are drunk during the meal - thanking God for his creation of the world and his re-creation of our world each spring, for his first covenant with his people, for his present goodness to us and his promise for the future.
The Cup of Sanctification
The Cup of Redemption
The Cup of Blessing
"I have earnestly desired to eat this passover with you before I
for I tell you, I shall never eat it again
until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God."
St Luke places this act after the washing of the feet of the disciples and the meal itself and after Judas had left the gathering. This bears out the tradition that it took place at the fourth cup of wine, the cup of Elijah
The wine from Elijah's cup is shared out among all those present. "From beyond, Elijah's spirit enters these walls and tastes with us the wine of endless promise." After the wine was drunk he said,
"Take this and divide it among yourselves for I tell you that from now on I shall not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes." from Matthew 26 & Luke 22
|And he took bread, and when he had given thanks
he broke it and gave it to them, saying,
"This is my body."
And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying:
"Drink of it all, of you; for this is my blood of the covenant,
which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
The unleavened bread which is still used in Communion reminds us of the speed with which they had to respond to God's call.
"For us, as St Paul says,
the bread which we break is a means of
sharing in the body of Christ.
Because there is one loaf and we all receive
a share of that one loaf,
although we are many,
we become one body."
below here are carried over from
| As Christians we have entered a new covenant,
giving added significance to this ceremony
which we continue in every Eucharist.
Until very recently our Christian Passover was
fulfilled' by the second part of the Mass,
including Communion of course, with the same bread and wine as used in the meal,
effectively linking the old testament (covenant) with the new.
|2006 - Celebrating (nearly) 30 years of Bible Study and our parish Passover meal|
Many thanks to all the people
who shared in the preparation of the meal, especially those who were unable
to be present,
to Sandra (2008) for the flowers, and to all those who helped to cook food, prepare the tables (all afternoon) and at the end clear up, wash up and tidy up.
£125 was donated to Kalomo, Zambia in 2008 and every year since has seen a similar sum or more donated to charity.
Eggs were not eaten during Lent, but hardboiled or preserved as Easter food. From this developed the idea of 'Easter eggs', known in the north of England as originally 'Pasch eggs'. These are usually decorated. Hard boil with onion for a dark yellow, cochineal for red, spinach for green, coffee grounds for dark brown - and then make patterns by scratching away the colour. Another method used is to wrap them tightly with small leaves in scraps of cloth with non-fast colours, and hardboil. They can also be painted. Large crowds still gather to roll their eggs in Avenham Park in Preston on the morning of Easter Monday.
The 'Easter Bunny' is an American import, perhaps having developed from a German 'Easter hare' whose pellets have an egg-shape, and has no relevance to the Feast of Easter.