We have a Pope! Pope Francis, our new Holy Father, was installed this past Tuesday on the Solemnity of St. Joseph. It was a fitting day for such a celebration as St. Joseph is the Patron of the Universal Church. Pope Francis has truly been an inspiring example of humility and holiness these last weeks since his election. At the Mass of Installation, he offered these wise words: “Let us never forget that authentic power is service, and that the Pope too, when exercising power, must enter ever more fully into that service which has its radiant culmination on the Cross. He must be inspired by the lowly, concrete and faithful service which marked Saint Joseph and, like him, he must open his arms to protect all of God’s people and embrace with tender affection the whole of humanity, especially the poorest, the weakest, the least important, those whom Matthew lists in the final judgment on love: the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick and those in prison (cf. Mt 25:31-46). Only those who serve with love are able to protect!” Truly inspiring words to begin our celebration of Holy Week. As we prayerfully listen to the Passion of our Lord this weekend and mark his entry into Jerusalem, may we begin this holiest time of the year with a renewed commitment to following Christ’s example of love and sacrifice. Now that the rigors and sacred discipline of Lent are drawing to a close and as we approach the solemn celebration of the Sacred Triduum of Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter, may we do so with our hearts renewed in the faith and a ever deeper union with Christ and His Church. I invite you to join us for the celebrations of Holy Week.
On Holy Thursday, we mark the institution of the Eucharist and Sacred Priesthood with the Mass of the Lord’s Supper at 7:00PM. Our Church will be transformed into that upper room where our Lord offered his last supper and humbly washed the feet of his apostles. Following the Mass, we will have the great opportunity to “watch and pray” in adoration of the Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament as our Church is transformed into the Garden of Gethsemane where our Lord prayed the night before his crucifixion. The Church will remain open until Midnight for prayer at the Altar of Repose.
On Good Friday we mark the crucifixion and death of our Lord with simple Stations of the Cross at 3:00PM and the solemn celebration of the Liturgy of the Passion and Veneration of the Cross at 7:00PM. This solemn day should be spent in prayer and reflection and is a day of fast and abstinence for Catholics.
Holy Saturday we celebrate the Mother of all Vigils, the great Easter Vigil. The Easter Vigil can only be celebrated after sunset so we will begin the great celebration at 8:00PM next Saturday. We will celebrate with great joy our Lord’s glorious and triumphant resurrection. We especially rejoice at Our Lady of Mercy as we receive our new Catholics into the Church and welcome one of our newest Catholics with Baptism into the faith. On Easter Sunday we continue our celebration of joy with the normal Sunday Mass schedule. Fr. Shemek, Deacon John and I are truly looking forward to our first Holy Week at Our Lady of Mercy. We will remember all of you in our prayers as we humbly ask for yours. May Holy Week 2013 be for us as a parish family a truly prayerful and powerful celebration our Lord’s Passion, Death and Resurrection.
Benedict, the Pope Emeritus, suggests: "The Paschal Mystery we relive in the Easter Triduum is not just a memory but a current reality. Even today, Christ overcomes sin and death with His love. Evil in all its forms does not have the last word. The final triumph is of Christ’s truth and love! If we are prepared to suffer and die with Him, as St. Paul reminds us in the Easter Vigil, His life becomes our life. It is upon this certainty that our Christian lives are built." God Bless Pope Francis! Have a truly blessed Holy Week! See you in Church! God Bless.