The joyful season of Lent is drawing to a close as we begin Holy Week. This is a very solemn time for us as we enter into the most beautiful and meaningful liturgies that the Church has to offer us. Now is the time for us to enter more fully into the Paschal Mystery, the saving death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We should make every effort to make this truly a Holy Week filled with prayer and participation in the liturgies of the Church. We have so many opportunities through the week to spend more time with the Lord.

On Wednesday evening, at 8:00 pm, we have Tenebrae, at which we anticipate the events of Holy Thursday and Good Friday by praying the psalms and listening to the words of the prophets of the Old Testament who foretold the coming of the Messiah and the suffering He would endure for our salvation. The service begins in light and ends in darkness, which is the opposite of the celebration of the Easter Vigil on Saturday evening.

On Holy Thursday, we celebrate the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, at 7:00 pm. On this night, we remember how Jesus gathered with His disciples to celebrate the Passover. During this sacred meal, He changed the bread and wine into His Body and Blood and gave it to them to eat and drink. At this sacred meal, Jesus gives us the Sacrament of Holy Eucharist and the Sacrament of Holy Orders so that He might always be with us and continue to shower His love upon us.

On Good Friday, we celebrate the Lord’s Passion and Death, at 3:00 pm. At this time, we reflect on the Passion of Jesus according to St. John. We pray for the many needs of the world and the Church, we venerate the Cross as the instrument of our salvation, and we receive the Body and Blood of the Lord in a communion service. There is no Mass celebrated on Good Friday; the Eucharist we receive was consecrated at the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Thursday evening.

On Saturday evening, we celebrate the Easter Vigil, at 8:30 pm. During this liturgy, we remember the history of our salvation culminating in our celebration of Jesus’ glorious resurrection from the dead. At this most solemn and beautiful liturgy, we welcome the newest members of our Christian community as they are baptized, received into the Catholic Church, confirmed, and receive Holy Communion for the first time. It is a time for us to renew our baptism and our faith in Jesus Christ, our Lord and God. Please make time to prayerfully celebrate the liturgies of Holy Week at home and at church. Don’t let the beauty and meaning of this week be lost in the busyness of the world, but let us transcend the world and enter into a celebration of our faith and salvation.

There are many opportunities this week to go to confession for Easter, see the bulletin for times.

The Feast of Divine Mercy is on Sunday, April 24. The Novena of Divine Mercy will begin on Good Friday and conclude on Saturday, April 23, the vigil of the Feast of Divine Mercy. A novena is usually nine days of prayer for a specific intention or anticipation of a certain feast. If you would like to pray the novena for Divine Mercy you will find the prayers for each day on the insert in today’s bulletin. You can also access the prayers online by going to divinemercy.life/ the-divine-mercy-novena/. The prayers can be said by itself or together with the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.

On the Feast of Divine Mercy we will all pray the Chaplet after each Mass and have the opportunity to venerate the image of Divine Mercy (either the one in front of the altar or the one in the chapel) by simply bowing or genuflecting in front of it. This, with Mass and Communion on the Feast of Divine Mercy and going to confession 8 days before or after the feast, will obtain for one a plenary indulgence, that is, the remission of all the temporal punishment still due to all of our mortal and venial sins which we have confessed.

Please be generous in your Easter Gift to the parish. Your generosity is greatly appreciated and needed. Your Easter gift is a way for you to give back to God a portion of all that He has given you. As you prayerfully consider your sacrifice for Easter this year, please remember that your continued generosity makes it possible for all of us to continue to grow in our faith. May God bless you for your past and continued generosity.