Today we celebrate the Fifth Sunday of Lent, formerly known as “Passion Sunday.” This weekend’s readings are filled, not only with examples of God’s abundant mercy and love, but of right living. Paul reminds us that everything outside of the pursuit of Christ is rubbish. And if we are to call ourselves follow- ers of Christ, we must keep our focus on what lies ahead. Let us begin by letting go of our judgments and our earthly desires so we may enter into this time with our minds and hearts lifted completely to God.
Next weekend we will enter Holy Week and celebrate “Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord.” “Hosanna in the highest! Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord.” We know well the story of Jesus’ triumphant entrance into Jerusalem. While we proclaim these words with heartfelt sincerity we must consider how we use our words and actions to crucify church and political leaders, others who are not like us, and even ourselves. May we ask for the grace to enter into Holy Week with the desire to more intimately understand Jesus’ humanity and his journey to the cross.
The Sacrament of Penance: Last Wednesday we had our “big” Lenten Parish Penance Service. On Saturday, April 6th, we had an extra hour and one-half (so actually three hours, with two priests) of “confessions”. Our grade school students will have the opportunity to celebrate the Sacrament this coming week. And, during Holy Week, I will be in the confessional following the 8:15 A.M. Mass on Wednesday morning, April 17th. I will also be available after Stations of the Cross on Good Friday, April 19th, until all are heard. Finally on Holy Saturday morning, following the practice for the Easter Vigil, there will be a brief penance service for those being received into the Church on Holy Saturday night, and then I will (again) be available for confessions until all are heard. The practice begins around
9:00 A.M., so I should be available for confessions around 10:00 A.M., again, until finished. No scheduled confessions on Holy Saturday afternoon.
Holy Week Services: Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday will be “normal.” Holy Thursday morning we will have Morning Prayer at 8:15 A.M. The only “daytime Mass” allowed on Holy Thursday is the Chrism Mass at the Basilica Cathedral of Saint Louis, 4431 Lindell Blvd., and that Mass is at 10:00 A.M. Our celebration of the Mass of the Lord’s Supper will be at 7:00 P.M. and will include the Washing of Feet then the transfer of the Blessed Sacrament to the Adoration Chapel / Cry Room, for private prayer until 11:00 P.M., when Night Prayer will be prayed. On Good Friday, again there will be Morning Prayer
at 8:15 A.M. Stations of the Cross will be prayed at 3:00 P.M. and the Liturgical Celebration of the Lord’s Passion and Death will be at 7:00 P.M. On Holy Saturday we will have Morning Prayer at 8:00 A.M. The Easter Vigil, the “Vigil of all Vigils,” will begin at 8:00 P.M. with the lighting of the new fire, the blessing of the Easter Candle, the Exultet, the Liturgy of the Word, the celebration of Baptisms, receptions into the Church, and Confirmation, and then the Liturgy of the Eucharist. If one only goes to one Mass a year, that is the Mass to attend! Our Confirmation Candidates are expected to attend all three of the Paschal Triduum celebrations, at 7:00 P.M. on Holy Thursday and Good Friday and 8:00 P.M. on Holy Saturday. Hopefully their sponsors will accompany them.
Fast and Abstinence on Good Friday: Good Friday is still a day of fasting (one main meal, two lesser meals, and no snacking) for all between 18 and 59. It is recommended, not mandated, by the Church that we continue that fast throughout Holy Saturday, only ending it after the Easter Vigil. It is a day of absti- nence from meat for all those who are 14 and above. If there are health issues, of course, these regulations do not apply!
Easter Sunday: For those who could not attend the Easter Vigil our Masses will be at 7:30 A.M., 9:30 A.M., and 11:30 A.M. NO 5:00 p.m. Mass on Easter Sunday night.
Our New Principal, Mrs. Tammi Rohman, will be here next weekend to speak at all the Masses and introduce herself. We will have “punch and cookies” following the 5:00 P.M. Saturday Mass and Sunday will be a special “coffee and donut” to meet and greet her. Last Tuesday Mrs. Callier,
Mrs. Rohman, Mrs. Herrman, Mr. Matt Glisson, and I went to Holy Trinity School to speak to the parents (and some children) about possibly coming here once their school closes in May. The other schools invited to make presentations were Our Lady of Guadalupe, Holy Spirit, and Saint Ann (in Normandy). I think our presentation went well and I hope that we will have some of their students join us in August. Meanwhile, as I mentioned at the Masses last weekend, this year we have 234 students, which is a stable number over the past few years. I hope we have the same, if not more, for the future. While not the “only” ministry of our parish, our PARISH school is an important part of our overall ministry here in Creve Coeur. I encourage ALL of our parishioners to check out our school which is preparing our children so well for High School and life in the Twenty-first Century.
New Elevator and Hall Renovation: As was mentioned the past couple of weeks, asbestos was found in the areas of the new construction and hall renovation. Accordingly asbestos abatement, following all of the Federal abatement regulations and clean air standards, began on Monday, April 1 (it wasn’t an April Fool, trust me!). We had hoped to still have the hall available for the reception following the Easter Vigil, but that is not possible. However, with this abatement we will have an asbestos free area going into the future. Thank you for your understanding and patience. We are still “on track” to have the major construction beginning on April 22.
Christus Vivit: This past Tuesday Pope Francis issued the “post-synodal apostolic exhortation” following the Special Synod on Youth. It was issued on the 17th anniversary of the Death of Pope Saint John Paul II, who established the World Youth Days. Entitled Christus Vivit (Christ is alive), it is a beautiful meditation on young people and roles that they will have in the future. The leaders of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement which, in part, reads: “The Church of the United States welcomes this teaching from Pope Francis as the fruit of the synodal journey in which we walked with and listened to young people. This exhortation is a wonderful summons to the whole Church to more vigorously invest in youth and young adults, especially those on the peripheries and those who are disconnected from the Church. We encourage all Catholic leaders to read and study this exhortation and the pertinent documents of the Synod. They provide for us a framework from which we can build upon in our dioceses, parishes, and communities. Now more than ever, we must turn our attention to our young people and engage them as ‘protagonists’ of the Church’s mission. Their insights can help us grow as a Church and guide us as we all learn to become better missionary disciples in an intercultural and intergenerational context. We look forward to what comes next, in collaboration with Catholic ministry leaders already working alongside young people. We look forward to the journey ahead, and pray with St. John Paul II, a patron of young people whose passing we remember today, for the Church’s ongoing mission to all generations… You may get the exhortation on line at www.vatican.va. Look for Christus Vivit at the top of the page.
I hope that your Lenten Season is going well and will be particularly fruitful for you. Faithfully yours,
Fr Joe Weber