Of course I have to recap our EASTER SERVICES from last week, and the first thing to say is that a lot of what I saw was familiar. This is a compliment—for more than forty years I’ve been celebrating the Holy Week, or Triduum (Three Days) services, and a huge strength of the Catholic Church is that you can go to Mass any church, anywhere, and see the same mysteries celebrated, in a familiar set of practices. That said, what I saw and was part of here at St. Monica was extraordinary. I’ve bragged to other priests, for instance that the lectoring and music here are extraordinary, and that’s never been so obvious. It was so easy to celebrate from Palm Sunday through to Thursday, Friday,
Saturday and Sunday, in large part because the Scriptures were proclaimed with such depth and clarity. Our outstanding music program was in full practice even with less personnel. Handbells, chimes and outstanding cantoring accompanied Heather Martin Cooper’s High level organ playing. I’d stand up our music these days to anywhere, including the cathedral.
You the congregation were outstanding too. We maxxed out our capacity, with more people than recently due to sizeable family “bubbles” filling in pews. Easter 9:30 was particularly striking. The participation and spirit were joyous at each service. I could easily see the legendary liturgical spirit of St. Monica Parish as you observed these demanding days. Our worship environment was beautiful and conducive to prayer for each feast, due to our environment crew’s daily transitions.
The themes of Msgr. Blood and I flowed into each other. Holy Thursday he said that, without the footwashing this year, we could still call ourselves to servant actions like that in the parish and beyond. Good Friday I talked of walking along in suffering together (like my old Boy Scout hikes), as Jesus did, caring for others even in suffering. For Easter I reflected on how tiny towns in the area gave way to make the city of Creve Coeur. And so we are called to be part of something bigger, starting with Baptism to die and be part of new life in the Church, and in our parish. Jesus let go
of his life and “delivered over his spirit” (John 19:30) that we might have his spirit, and live in it together. Long Dienh lived this out being baptized and confirmed with us Saturday night. “I will be your God, and you will be my people.” (Ezekiel 36) M & M’s were a take-home token of joy that delighted kids of all ages.
Women have a special role in the Easter observance, because they were the first to return to the tomb, and Mary Magdalen was the first to encounter the Risen Jesus. He told her to “Go tell my brothers.” Whatever way we feel the Risen Lord, we must tell others the news, as she did. We’re already continuing our Evangelization Reflections to get used to doing this.
Along this line, our Director of Liturgical Music Heather Martin Cooper did really outstanding work to welcome and accommodate all who wanted to come. Like Easter, she coordinated the spaces and made families’ signs for each pew each Mass. Jim Reinhardt and the ushers helped a great deal to check people into their places and also assist those who simply walked in to have a place in the Church Hall. We owe them all a debt of gratitude.
We go on right away in this 50 day season. We’ve already met this week to strengthen our school for the future, to help new families be part of things. And next Saturday at noon is our First Communion, a favorite day of mine. I’m very grateful to all of you for a wonderful Easter and a great start to the longest season of the Church year.