Today is of course Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord. We open this most Holy Week continuing the theme of the cost of faithful obedience and the reality of suffering. It is easy to be enamored with the concept of love, but the truth is that love is costly. Revelation is the story of God’s great love for us. Today we remember the cost of that love in Jesus’ passion and death, and we ask ourselves where we fit in all of this. The answer is profoundly humbling, no matter who we are.
Next weekend is Easter! The End of Lent! The beginning of the celebration of our Salvation! We have heard the Resurrection story so often that it may fail to impress us. Our attention may be more on Easter dinner, dyed eggs and baskets of candy. But how would Easter be different if we had just discovered there is more to life than we could possibly have imagined? What difference would this discovery make next Monday morning?
Holy Week and the Paschal Triduum: These days are the most important of the Church Year … probably (other than the day of our birth, the day of our Baptism, the day of our marriage … or Ordination … and the day of our death) the most important days we can ever experience! I invite you to experience them well! (Our Confirmation Candidates are asked to attend all three of the Paschal Triduum services … even if out of town, they are available throughout the world!)
The first three days of this week are during Holy Week, of course, but just “normal days of Lent.” Then we hit Thursday, and everything changes. In the evening of Holy Thursday we enter the Paschal Triduum, the three days commemorating the Last Supper, the Death of our Lord, His lying in the tomb, and His victory over sin and death!
I hope that you will participate in all of the special services during Holy Week. Monday – Wednesday, we will have Morning Prayer at 7:45 A.M. Thursday and Friday morning Prayer will be at 8:15 (the normal time for Mass, since there is no Mass those mornings). Saturday we will have Morning Prayer at 8:15 A.M., again the normal time for the morning Mass on Saturday.
The Masses on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday will be at 6:30 A.M. and 8:15 A.M. Again, other than Morning Prayer, there are no services in Church on Thursday, Friday, or Saturday mornings.
Even though we had our Parish Penance Service last Monday and two priests have been available each Saturday afternoon throughout the Season of Lent, and almost every Saturday, we will have the Sacrament of Reconciliation Monday, March 26, 2:00 to 4:00 P.M. and 7:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M. Wednesday, March 28 from 9:00 to 10:00 A.M. Saturday, March 31 at 10:00 A.M. We will be available for Confessions following Morning Prayer and following Stations of the Cross on Good Friday, until all are heard.
On Holy Thursday we will have the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, including the washing of feet and the transfer of the Blessed Sacrament to the Repository, at 7:00 P.M. On Good Friday (“Friday of the Passion of the Lord”) we will have Stations of the Cross at 3:00 P.M. At 7:00 P.M. we will have the Liturgical Commemoration of the Passion and Death of the Lord, including The Liturgy of the Word, the Veneration of the Cross, and Holy Communion. Finally on Holy Saturday night, beginning at 8:00 P.M., after having spent the day in silent watchfulness at the Tomb, we will celebrate the Easter Vigil in the Holy Night, with the Ceremony of Light, the Liturgy of the Word, the Blessing of Holy Water for Easter, the Reception of Candidates into the Church and their Confirmations, then the Liturgy of the Eucharist. (Weather permitting we will gather outside by the main entrance to Church for the Lighting of the new Fire and the lighting of the Easter Candle and our candles.) (The only confessions time available in Church on Holy Saturday will be following the practice for the Easter Vigil, so around 10:00 A.M., primarily for the candidates for reception into the Church, but available for anyone who wishes to come. I will be available until all are heard. If you need another time, please call Fr Mike Donald or me to set up an appointment.)
For those unable to attend the Easter Vigil we will have Masses on Easter Sunday morning. The Mass schedule will be the same “as usual,” namely, at 7:30 A.M., 9:30 A.M., and 11:30 A.M. There will NOT be a 5:00 P.M. Mass on Easter Sunday.
Novena to the Divine Mercy: Following the directives given in the private revelations of our Lord to Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, the annual Novena in preparation for the Feast of Divine Mercy, the Second Sunday of Easter, April 8, begins on Good Friday. In her biography, Saint Faustina quotes Jesus as saying: “By this Novena I will grant every possible grace to souls.” (pg 796) We can pray this Novena for our own personal intentions, or we can offer it together for special intentions. The Novena simply consists of praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy each day. If you don’t know how to do that, please ask and I’ll be happy to give you directions! This devotion, fully supported by Pope Saint John Paul II, is a powerful one,
Pilgrimage to the Holy Land: Several people have asked me to take another pilgrimage to the Holy Land. I am happy to announce that plans have been made to go to the Holy Land January 18 – 27 (a Friday through a Sunday, over the Martin Luther King, Jr., Holiday weekend). The cost will be $3330. We will be staying at the Franciscan Guest House on the Mount of the Beatitudes and the Notre Dame Center in Jerusalem. The celebration of Holy Mass in the Holy Sepulchre, over the traditional place where Jesus’s body was laid, is scheduled. I have brochures if you might be interested in going. Just pray for peace in Jerusalem, as generations have done!
May we have a faithful and prayerful Holy Week. Let’s all make it very holy!
Fr Joe Weber