by Lisa M. Hendey | Source:
During this Year of the Eucharist, Catholics looking to more
fully appreciate the sacrament while enriching their family or parish celebration of Holy Week
should look to the wonderful new book Come to the Table: A Catholic Passover Seder for Holy
Publishing, January 2005, paperback, 96 pages). Author Meredith Gould,
Ph.D., writes from an educated perspective – describing herself as a “Jew by identity, a Christian
by faith, and a Catholic in practice”. Gould’s additional books include The Catholic Home:
Celebrations and Traditions for Holidays, Feast Days and Everyday
(Doubleday), which carries
the imprimatur of the Catholic Church. As an adult convert to Catholicism, she writes in a manner
which will encourage Catholics to examine and embrace the richness of traditional Jewish rituals and
symbolism surrounding the feast of Passover.
Having been raised in a Jewish home, Gould
opens her book with reminiscences of family Passover celebrations. With many Jewish friends of my
own, I have discussed the wonderful family gatherings of this holiday and the memories created
through the act of coming together in faith and celebration. I am looking forward to sharing
Meredith Gould’s Catholic Passover Seder with my own family and friends this year as a part of our
Holy Week celebration.
As background information, Gould supplies a history of the rituals
and symbols of the traditional Passover feast. An informative and touching section of the book
entitled “Reconciliation and Teshuva
” comments on the evolving relationship between Jews
and Catholics, up to and including recent Papal acts and writings and current events such as
reaction to Mel Gibson’s film The Passion of the Christ
. Given this background, Gould
recommends an emphasis on what we as Catholics share in common with our Jewish brethren. The
Catholic Passover Seder does not draw entirely on the traditional Jewish Seder, but rather provides
an alternative inspired by and structured upon the original format but based in Christianity.
The bulk of Come to the Table
contains practical, step by step instructions for
planning, preparing and conducting your own Catholic Passover Seder. Gould’s Seder may be used in
either home, small group or parish settings. A complete appendix section provides additional
prescriptions for carrying out a successful Seder in your parish.
I walked away from my
experience of reading Come to the Table: A Catholic Passover Seder for Holy Week
educated and inspired: educated on this history, symbols and rituals which underpin this antecedent
to our Holy Thursday Eucharistic traditions, and inspired to celebrate this new tradition in my own
home and faith community.
For more information visit www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0976396203/catholicmomcomLisa M. Hendey is a mother of two sons, webmaster of www.catholicmom.com and www.christincoloring.com, and an avid reader of Catholic literature.
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