Holy Week just kicked off today with Palm Sunday and a procession led by Père Boyardee down the rue Palestine. I declined on joining the crowd waving branches of boxwood and retreated inside to the front pew where I finished composing an Ode to My Toes (relevant to Holy Week as you’ll see shortly), the last bit of this week’s homework for The School of Womanly Arts.
I heard the Hosannas wafting outside the gothic lair and then, three thundering knocks on the main portal, clearly not made by mere human knuckle. It was Père Boyardee banging the door with his cross. A high pitched voice from inside queried through a megaphone: “Who is this king of glory?”
Outside, Père Boyardee boomed: “It’s the Lord, the strong, the brave, the Lord, the Brave Combatant!”
Again, three extra-strength knocks.
“Who is this king of glory?”
“Door, lift your frontons; Lift them, Eternal Doors! That He may enter, The King of Glory!!”
The counter tenor dropped the megaphone to unbuckle the portals. In marches Père Boyardee in a gorgeous rosso corsa cassock followed by Deacon de Proussy in white undercassock with a swathe of rosso corsa satin running from left shoulder to right hip; in their wake, the altar boys in lamb white waved the censors in trinities to maintain odor control as the flocks rushed in to find seating. My son arrived promptly – on the heels of the altar boys – carrying a black notebook.
“Mom, look! The priest told me to hold this!”
“What is it?” I reach out to have a peek.
“No! You’re not supposed to look.” He holds it back from me. “Just tell me what I’m supposed to do with it.”
“Get rid of it as quickly as possible.” I figure if it contains information not suitable for mom, return it to its maker.
In a split second my son was up at the altar handing it off to Deacon de Proussy who discreetly tucked the notebook under the bible. We’ll never know what it contains… perhaps a feet washing manual?
Mass began with a polyphonic reading from Matthew. We heard Peter betray Jesus three times before the cock crowed, Judas turn him in for thirty pieces of silver, the crowd cry out for his crucifixion, in short, the mortification of the Son of God at Calvary. Last year two parishioners passed out during the momentous reading; this year, we were tidier. Père Boyardee exploited the theme of love in his sermon, reminding us that even if we behaved like a cheap tin of preservative-loaded horse meat raviolis, Jesus loved us. Jesus simply loves us no matter how rotten we get and we should feel good about this for two seconds and then really, really guilty.
Père also gave us a compte rendu of Holy Week. I pulled my own little pink notebook and jotted down a Holy Week To Do List.
1) Call Christelle at the Institut de Beauté for an appointment. Must absolutely get pedi done, before Holy Thursday when the padres are planning to wash-and-dry our tootsies. It’s free of charge but you’ve got to get the pedi done beforehand.
2) Purchase leopard skin ankle boots with 5-inch stiletto heels to walk the stations of the cross. If must suffer, will do so in style.
3) Buy loads of dark chocolate eggs filled with the strongest eau de vie in the Kingdom of France to get through till Easter.
To add a touch of mirth to this perilous week, Père Boyardee published yet another “Menu Spirituel et Gastronomique” for Lent 2014.
I shall translate it here:
A Cocktail that “rips” (proportion in Joel 1, 12-17);
Terrine of beatitudes with Salt of the Earth;
Duo of Tenderness and Pity doused in Felicity Sauce accompanied by its little psalmic dumplings;
Pauline aspic with Corinthian raisins;
Fruits refreshed with Spirit;
Accompanied by a cuvée prestige of Château Great Happiness
I’d love to hear what you’re planning for Resurrection Day. Please do share your Pascal menus and deviled egg recipes. Also, if you have any ideas about how to remove pantyhose discreetly in a pew, please let me know ASAP.