Dear Parishioners:On Palm Sunday, we commemorate Jesus' entrance into Jerusalem before his crucifixion. During Palm Sunday Mass, the Gospel account of the Passion of Christ is proclaimed. It is truly a solemn beginning to the holiest week of the year. Holy Week is an opportunity to enter more fully in the sacred mysteries of our faith and celebrate them as a parish family. I hope you can make the time this week to attend Mass, get to Confession if you need to go, and join us for the solemn liturgies of the Sacred Triduum that are Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday. Also I encourage to attend the Living Stations of the Cross that our OLM School children have been working so hard preparing. They are offered on Wednesday at 1:00PM and 6:30PM.
On Holy Thursday we celebrate the Mass of the Lord's Supper at 7:00PM. On the night before Jesus Christ was crucified, he changed bread and wine into his own Body and Blood, and he commanded the Apostles and their successors through the present this sacrifice. Just as Christ did for his 12 Apostles at the Last Supper and as he commanded them to do likewise, during the Mass of the Lord's Supper, the priests who represent Christ ceremoniously wash the feet of 12 people from the parish. After the Last Supper, Jesus went to pray in the Garden of Gethsemane, accompanied by two of the disciples. So after the Holy Thursday Mass, the remaining sacred hosts are “altar of repose.” People are asked to stay for a time, adoring the wondrous sacrament that Jesus instituted that day 2,000 years ago. The Church remains open until Midnight for adoration.
The Mass of the Lord's Supper finished, the church is now truly empty. So the sanctuary lamp is extinguished and the tabernacle door left open, exposing the vacant space inside. The altar is stripped bare of its linens and candles, Holy water is removed from the church's fonts and the sacraments are not celebrated until the Easter Vigil. Like the first Christians bereft of Jesus and mourning the two days after the crucifixion, the church stands unadorned until the Easter Vigil.
At 3:00PM on Good Friday we offer the Stations of the Cross. This devotion is centered on the Passion of Christ and recalls the way of Jesus' suffering and death. AT 7:00PM on Good Friday, the church gathers for the Liturgy of the Lord's Passion, which includes a reading of a Gospel account of the Passion, Holy Communion (consecrated at Mass on Thursday night) and veneration of the Cross. The faithful process to the cross at the foot of the sanctuary, as if to receive communion. There each person reverences the crucifix with a kiss or a bow.
On Holy Saturday, we will celebrate the Mother of all Vigils, the Easter Vigil at 8:00PM. There is no 5:00PM Mass as the Church requires the Easter Vigil to be celebrated after sunset in the darkness. We keep watch for the expectant rising of Our Saviour. This was the day He went down into the netherworld in order to bring back up with Him into heaven those who had died before His coming. The Easter Vigil Mass is a solemn, glorious and joyful s resurrection from the dead and at the Mass our candidates who have spent months of ve never been to the Easter Vigil, consider attending this year as it is well worth the time and effort. On Easter Sunday we offer three Masses at 7:30AM, 9:00AM and 10:30AM but there will no 5:00PM Evening Mass on Easter Sunday.
Those who enter into Holy Week wholeheartedly discover that it can change them forever. It is a time to clear our schedules of unnecessary activities. Our minds and hearts should be fixed on Jesus and His Passion, Death and Resurrection! If you are traveling for Easter, please know of our prayers for you and your families. A Blessed Holy Week to all. God Bless.