11 April 2010

Holy Week in Metz

Patisseries and chocolate shop window displays are truly something to behold.  Oversized chocolate eggs, chickens, rabbits and lambs tantalize passers-by.  Storefronts display trees strung with colorful eggs.  I was able to restrain myself from partaking of the seasonal treats until one of my students presented me with a Belgian chocolate egg filled with smaller chocolates.  It miraculously disappeared within 24 hours! My adult student Anna also gifted me with an adorable chocolate chicken, which has been banished to the refrigerator until Jim comes to visit. We’ll see how long it lasts there!

More enjoyable than the sweets are the services in the Cathedral. On Palm Sunday, old women in kerchiefs sold bouquets of palms outside the cathedral, and the familiar reading of the Passion was especially beautiful in French.  Holy Thursday services were even more solemn and beautiful; the air filled with incense and Gregorian chants.  The sight of the bishop of Metz and dozens of priests clothed in white was something to behold, lit by candles and the waning light through the stained glass windows.    A man in the pew next to me had noticed me staring at the vaulted ceilings for most of the service, and as we processed out, he asked me how I found the cathedral.  “She’s magnificent.” I replied.  He noticed my accent right away and asked what brought me to Metz.  After whispering together (as the procession was still going on) he revealed that he was an assistant to the Bishop of Metz, and that he was delighted to see a person of my age in the cathedral.  “C’est beau, la foi.” he said. “Gardez-la pour toujours.”

The anticipation of the Easter season is one of my favorite times of year, but admittedly, my faith has suffered here, dealing with separation from my loved ones and crisis after crisis with living and financial situations.  France is also a highly secularized country, and not the ideal place to grow my faith, as I had previously imagined.  But those simple words from the distinguished man in the cathedral gave me chills, and I walked away feeling inspired and filled with hope.  Winter has been long, and at times, hard, but the promise of Easter and spring fills me with anticipation of things yet to come.

Chocolate eggs and rabbits at Patisserie Jean

Easter tree window display

Pascal lambs cakes

My palm from Palm Sunday  (Dimanche des Rameaux)

Palm Sunday in the Cathedral

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous08 May, 2010

    The Easter photos were lovely! Mom


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