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.
You may have noticed last Sunday that our statues in church were covered in purple cloth. This is a tradition in the Church that reminds us that when Jesus went up to Jerusalem prior to the Passover and His arrest and crucifixion, He did so in a veiled and hidden way. So, the covering of the statues hides them from our sight as Jesus was hidden during the days before His death.
The Sunday after Easter, April 16, is the Feast of Divine Mercy. Each year we pray the Novena of Divine Mercy which begins on Good Friday. In the bulletin today you will find the schedule for the novena and the novena prayers so you can pray the novena in your homes and with your family if you are unable to come to the church for these prayers. We are all in great need of Divine Mercy as is the world we live in. Jesus came to us and died on the cross so that we might know the love and mercy of God. The more we pray for God’s mercy, the more we know how much He loves us, the more we can share that love with others and show His mercy to the world.
AN EASTER CHALLENGE: I would like to invite all of you to take the time to extend an invitation to at least one other person to come to Mass who has fallen away from the Church and no longer comes to Mass. Then to take that one step further invite them to come again the following Sunday. The invitation can be a very powerful moment of grace. Even if the person turns you down, don’t be discouraged and don’t be disappointed just wait a few days and invite them again for the next Sunday. Keep doing this and keep praying to the Holy Spirit to guide the person’s heart and to give you the strength to keep inviting. One can only imagine what could happen if everyone took this opportunity to heart. Let God call others home by using your voice.
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.