My Dear Friends,
Holy Week is here! The most important week of the year. And so I present you with a very simple question: how do you intend to spend this week?
We cannot go about the activities of the next seven days as if it were just another week. The events of Holy Week transformed human history, and it should transform our lives as well. Today we begin with Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord. May I suggest that you take the Passion Narrative that you will hear at Mass today and carry it with you in your heart all week. This is such a rich text filled with so much salvific drama. Depending on where we are in the spiritual life, each verse of today’s gospel may speak to us or tug at us in a different way. As I glanced over the gospel earlier this week as I wrote this column, there were two verses that jumped out at me immediately. The first was Peter’s stating, “I do not know the man (Matthew 26:72),” as he denied Jesus. The second is “Truly, this was the Son of God (Matthew 27:54)!” The first line was uttered by one of Jesus’ closest friends. The second line, a line of faith, was uttered by a stranger and pagan. In our relationship with Jesus, how often do we walk the fine line between friend and stranger?
This coming Wednesday, we offer our annual Lenten Penitential Service with Individual Confessions beginning at 7pm in our church. As of this writing, we have 8 priests confirmed to be present to hear our confessions. We will be there until the last penitent has received absolution. Do not pass up this opportunity the Lord is offering you to cleanse your soul and to enter the Holy Triduum with a pure heart.
Holy Thursday we celebrate the Mass of the Lord’s Supper where we will have the traditional Washing of the Feet and Eucharistic Procession to the Altar of Repose. On this day, we commemorate the institution of the priesthood and the Eucharist. Two central realities of our faith that make us uniquely Catholic. The altar of repose will be open until Midnight, and for those who wish to make the pilgrimage of the Seven Monuments that evening which is so common in Latin America, here is a list of six other churches that will make it easy to finish this pilgrimage by Midnight: St. Thomas, St. Augustine, St. Raymond, St. Michael, St. Hugh, and the Shrine of Lady of Charity (La Ermita).
On Good Friday, we observe a day of fasting as we focus on the death of our Lord. The cross is presented to us as a sign of Christ’s victory over sin and death. We will be invited during the liturgy to come forward to venerate the cross and stare at Christ’s broken body. Broken for our offenses. Broken so that we may live! After the last liturgy of the day, we will have a procession around our neighborhood with the statue of the corpse of Christ. A truly somber and moving experience which we invite everyone to take part it. The procession begins at 9:15pm after the 8pm Liturgy has concluded.
Holy Saturday marks a day of silence as we stare upon the reality of the tomb and anticipate what is to come that evening at the Great Easter Vigil. I say it every year: if you have never been to an Easter Vigil, join us as we celebrate the most beautiful liturgy of the year. We live for this night! We begin in darkness and slowly build towards the celebration of Christ’s resurrection! There is nothing like hearing the Gloria sung during the Easter Vigil. We also welcome new members into our parish family who have been preparing for baptism. It is the night of all nights. And if I may tempt you to come in a very practical way: if you wish to avoid the big crowds of Easter Sunday, come to the Easter Vigil.
Yes, this is a week like no other. Let us treat it as such. The detailed schedule for Holy Week is printed later in this bulletin. Join us for the Holy Triduum. May we walk with Jesus on the road to Calvary and wake up on Easter morning renewed by the Risen Christ!
God bless you all,