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Below is a repeat of an article I wrote a few years ago.  The importance of Holy Week hasn’t changed; neither have my thoughts on the subject.  There has been some up-dating to reflect our current circumstances. 

With Palm Sunday, the Church begins the remembrance of Jesus’ last days on earth.  Of special importance are the days of the Easter Triduum, Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday/the Easter Vigil.  On these days, the Church looks at the events which have become the center of our salvation.

 The single Mass on Holy Thursday, the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, remembers the institution of the Eucharist, the source and summit of the Church’s life of grace.  It is from the Eucharist that all of us draw our spiritual strength.  It is from the Eucharist that we are fed with the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, Himself, as food for the journey. The Eucharist is the pledge of the Pascal Feast of Heaven.  In addition, at this celebration of the Lord’s Supper we remember the institution of the ministerial priesthood, a priesthood by which Jesus has chosen to continue His own priestly presence through the ages.  Most especially, the ministerial priesthood is entrusted with the sacramental ministry through which grace (the divine life) is offered to the Church from the hands of Christ, Himself.  Also, at this Supper, we remember His example of charity and service, in the washing of the feet, a call which Christ speaks to the whole Church, also as a sign of His continued presence in the Church, so that the Church may be a sign of His presence in the world.

 On Good Friday, the Church remembers the death of her Lord.  The principle worship service is not a Mass but is officially called the Celebration of the Lord’s Passion.  It has three principle parts: (1) the Liturgy of the Word, especially the Passion, which recounts the Lord’s suffering and death, (2) the Veneration of the Cross, in which each of us are invited to venerate the Cross as the instrument of our salvation, and (3) the Communion Service, in which Holy Communion, consecrated at the Mass of the Lord’s Supper the previous evening, is distributed to the faithful.  Good Friday is the most solemn day on the Church’s calendar.  The faithful should make every effort to celebrate it as such.  I have mentioned before that in this one, we could learn from our brothers and sisters of Jewish or Moslem adherence.  It would be considered a rarity that they would not celebrate their “high holy days,” Yom Kippur or Ramadan.  And yet, we Catholics have become so cavalier about the way we commemorate Good Friday, our high holy day. We think nothing of scheduling ball games (coaches, please note) or going to work, or even leaving for vacation & spring break.  What kind of message are we giving to our children and our world?   Please, make an effort to reverse that, even if it means taking a personal day from work, to witness to your co-workers and your family and your neighbors that Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross means something to you.  And if you do take off, honor the day by celebrating with us and by leaving household chores, shopping, the lawn & garden, etc. to another day.

 The Easter Vigil is often called the “mother of all vigils,” because it was an ancient custom of early Christians to stay up on the eve of Easter to wait, with the whole Church, for the Resurrection of the Lord.  It was a time to remember, through the many readings, the history of salvation, culminating in that final act of God on our behalf, the Resurrection.  In addition, all those who wished to join the community were baptized at this Vigil.  It is a beautiful celebration of hope and joy.  Join us for the special vigil that begins at 8:00 PM Saturday evening.  At the Vigil, those who are to be baptized into the Catholic Church and with whom we have shared a journey these weeks of Lent, especially if you attend the weekly 11:00 Mass, will join our Eucharistic community for the first time.  This year, Brittany Vander Wiele will join this local Catholic community when she is baptized.  It would be a wonderful thing if, as a parish, a large part of our community were there to welcome her.  I know Mass will take longer than usual, but when you think of the fact that Brittany has now found Christ, what a wonderful sign to her that our community truly appreciates her decision for the faith. And what a continuing encouragement to us to rekindle the faith that brought Brittany to this moment.   Please come.  You might be inspired to speak an invitation to the faith to someone who is searching for God in their lives. 

 How has your Lent been?  If it has gone well, cap it off by your participation in the liturgies of these special days.  If it has not gone well, if your Lenten resolutions have left something to be desired, you can make up for it by your participation in these liturgies.  Unlike Christmas, which is a one-day event, Easter comes at the end of a Holy Week, so I encourage everyone to truly make it that – a holy week in your spiritual journey of 2015. 

 To help, why not try getting your spiritual house in order.  Clean out the dust and the cobwebs by celebrating the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  Join us for our Lenten Penance Service, and individual confessions, on Tuesday evening at 7:30, or confessions on Wednesday evening from 7:00 to 8:30 PM.  I encourage as many as possible to attend the Penance Service.  On that night, we will have twelve priest-confessors available for the individual.

 As a sign of how important the Church considers the Triduum, in places that have Perpetual Adoration, such Adoration is supposed to end before Holy Thursday.  Two years ago, because the Chapel was to be painted, Adoration ended on Palm Sunday evening, after the 6:30 Mass.  What we found by doing that was that it also enabled our maintenance staff to strip and wax all of the floors before Holy Thursday.  To facilitate the proper cleaning of the church in preparation for the Triduum, everyone is reminded that, once again, Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration will end Palm Sunday evening at 8:00PM and will resume after the 6:30 AM Mass on Easter Monday. 

 One last thing.  I call your attention to the schedule of Masses for Easter Sunday.  You will notice three masses celebrated in the auditorium, at 9:30, 11:00 and 12:30.  With the enormous crowds for Easter, we’ve added extra Masses to help alleviate the overcrowding.  The Masses in the auditorium will have full ministries and full musical programs and you will hardly know that you are in an auditorium; it will be decorated so well.  So please, if you get here and the church is already crowded, you will find a warm celebration in the auditorium. 

 May Holy Week be, for each of us, a time of renewal in faith, deepening in hope, and growth in charity by the way we walk with the Lord through these saving mysteries. 

 God Bless,  
Fr. Ron

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Mass Schedule

Weekend Liturgies
Saturday, 5:30 p.m.
Sunday
8:00 a.m., 9:30 a.m.,
11:00 a.m., 12:30 p.m.,
3 p.m. (Spanish), 6:30 p.m.
Weekday Liturgies
Monday thru Friday,
6:30 a.m., 8:30 a.m.,
and 12 noon
Saturday, 8:30 a.m. only
Holy Days
Eve: 7:30pm (anticipated)
6:30am, 8:30am, and 12noon 

 

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Click Here for the Video in English and Spanish

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