Three special services at St. Charles Borromeo Church leading up to Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter will provide participants with unique ways to immerse themselves in reflection.

Taize, evensong and Tenebrae services will take place Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. “It has impact,” said Deacon Mike Kocjancic, who leads the services.

Recently, he and the Rev. Philip Rogers, pastor, discussed the meaning and importance of the services.

“People are preparing for the celebration of Easter and Triduum,” Kocjancic said. “It’s a last shot to do something for Lent,” Father Rogers said.

The Paschal Triduum, the final three days of Lent and Holy Week, begins with the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday and continues to the start of the Easter vigil on the evening of Holy Saturday.

Prayers used in Taize, evensong and Tenebrae services come from the Office of the Hours, based on the Book of Christian Prayer.

“Taize is associated with chanting and evensong also includes traditional chant,” Father Rogers said. The Tenebrae service has no music or chanting.

Kocjancic said the Taize services involves “a lot of repetition.” But by doing so, he continued, the “repeating becomes a part of you ... you get deeper in communion with God.”

Father Rogers added that the melody of the chants helps “move us closer to God.”

The service will combine candlelight, silence and Scripture to heighten the spiritual experience. Chanting phrases such as “O Lord, hear my prayer, O Lord hear my prayer,” is centering.

The Lord’s Prayer also will be chanted.

Evensong is the evening prayer. The service will begin with the evening hymn, “Lord, Who Throughout These Forty Days.”

Also included will be Psalms 141 and 91 and the Canticle of Mary, also known as the magnificat.

The short Scripture and intercessory prayers are interspersed with songs and sung responses.

The Tenebrae service is the most dramatic in its use of light and darkness. The service features 15 candles including the Paschal candle, which symbolizes Christ. The other 14 candles represent the Apostle and friends of Jesus.

“This is one of my favorites,” Kocjancic said. As the service progresses, the 14 candles are extinguished, leaving only the Paschal candle. “It’s the light of Christ,” he said.

“This use of candles dramatizes how the Apostles and others left Jesus in His hour of need,” Kocjancic said.

The deacon said the Paschal candle will be removed from the sanctuary then returned. “It’s the light of hope,” he said.

He noted the darkness should prompt us to reflect on Christ as the light in the world.

The Tenebrae service only has spoken passages; there is no music, adding to the somberness.

“It’s a powerful service,” Kocjancic said. “It makes you think.”

The Tenebrae service has an opening, three nocturns and a closing.

He added that the three services “add to solmenity of Holy Week.”

The deacon said “a lot of comments” have been made about the services that have a sorrowful tone but encourage reflection.

“They make you think about the responsibility Jesus faced,” he said.

Kocjancic was ordained a deacon in 1989. He serves at St. Charles and as associate director of the Permanent Diaconate Program in the Diocese of Youngstown. Deacons’ threefold ministry is liturgy, such as leading prayer services and roles in Mass; word that refers to teaching; and service.

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