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Dear Friends,
I have mentioned several times in these Lenten columns that we have been reading from cycle A of the three-year cycle of readings. These readings speak especially to the catechumens, those preparing to be baptized at the Easter Vigil, but to all of us, as well. Three weeks ago, in the Gospel of the Transfiguration, the voice from heaven told Peter, James and John, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Listen to Him.” As the catechumens hear this, they might ask, “Listen to Him about what?” And the Church has been answering them for the last two weeks, and this week as well. With the woman at the well (two weeks ago), Jesus has told us that He knows we have a thirst – for meaning, for fulfillment, for love, for life and that HE is the only real, life-giving water that will quench that thirst. With the man born blind (last week), Jesus has told us He can bring light into the darkness of our lives, help us to see the road in front of us, and point us in the right direction.

Today, Jesus tells us where that road leads – to the fullness of life, in this world, but especially in the next. The story of the raising of Lazarus is our story. He loved Lazarus; He loves us. He wept for Lazarus; He weeps for us, in our sins, in our sorrows, in the burdens we carry, physically, psychologically, emotionally. He raised Lazarus; He raises and will raise us to new life. He fulfills the promise made through Ezekiel in the 1st Reading, “Then you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and have you rise from them.” This 7th and greatest sign in John’s Gospel, Jesus calls the catechumens (and us) out of our graves and gives them (and us) the new life of baptism. It is why we rejoice at Easter, not just in memory of Jesus’ own resurrection, but in ours with Him.

But first, beginning next Sunday, we must die with Him and die to ourselves, and our sins, as well. And one way of doing this is to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation. These have been extraordinary weeks for the priests here. We’ve been hearing the confessions of the children in our Religious Education Program, maybe 1000 of them, in all the different varieties of models we have, When Families Gather, the School Model, Home Groups, Jr. High Youth Ministry, the Summer Religious Education program. To do this we’ve had multiple sessions with as many as eleven priests. This is an especially important ministry for us as priests. Each of us “goes to confession” regularly and knows the tremendous power of this Sacrament; it helps us acknowledge that we are not perfect, that we stand in need of God’s forgiveness, but that experiencing the love God has for us, even in our weakness and sins, we know what a great moment of healing, love and peace this can and should be for everyone in this rat-race we call living. If only the faithful would see the Sacrament in that light, and not as a moment of condemnation, dread or fear. I hope we tried to help our children see themselves as loved by God even in their weakest moments, and embraced by a God Who only wants them to know they are loved and encourages to do better.

As the Lord raised Lazarus, Jesus waits to raise you up with him, in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, to give you new life, new hope, new peace. Do you want that this year? There is a song we sometimes sing and the refrain ends, “Make us your own, NOW IS THE TIME. Confessions are heard next Saturday, 4/8, from 1:00 to 2:00, with four priests hearing. On Tuesday, 4/11, there will be a Reconciliation Service, with individual confessions and 11 priests hearing. On Wednesday, 4/12, the four parish priests will go from 7:00 to 9:00 (the wait for this last chance to get to confession can be very long. May I suggest you try to come to one of the two earlier days). NOW IS THE TIME to rise with Jesus, to experience the fullness of the life that He offers and to be ready to celebrate at Easter His Resurrection and your own.
God bless,
Fr. Ron

PS. Next Sunday is Palm Sunday and the parish will once again gather at the band shell at Vet’s Field at 11:30 for the blessing of Palm and the procession through the streets of Ridgewood to the church for the 12:30 Mass. I extend a personal invitation to all to join us as a sign that Jesus is truly King and Lord of your life. Also, next Sunday, Palm Sunday (4/9), Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration will end at 8:00PM, after the conclusion of the 6:30 Mass and will not resume until Easter Monday, (4/17), at 7:00AM. By church regulation, there should be no adoration from Holy Thursday until after Easter. The extra days allow the staff to thoroughly clean the Adoration Chapel.

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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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