Updated: Jan 9
Dear Friends in Christ:
Holy Week has arrived. Our Lenten season draws to a close and reaches its climax in the liturgies that we will be celebrating in these holy days. The spotlight falls fully on the passion, death, and resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ. No matter how good, bad or indifferent our Lent has been; no matter if we have kept our Lenten fast; no matter if we have utilized these weeks to truly draw ourselves closer to the Lord through prayer, fasting, and almsgiving; we NOW ponder more deeply the infinite Love of God as we anticipate, celebrate, and contemplate the passion, death, and resurrection of our Lord.
We now come to the holiest of weeks in our liturgical calendar ready to contemplate the gift of the Eucharist and the call to service (Holy Thursday—Mass of the Lord’s Supper); ready to contemplate all that the Lord endured so that we may be free from our sins (Good Friday—The Passion of the Lord); and, finally, we gather ready to contemplate the gift of everlasting life (Holy Saturday Night and Easter Sunday—Sunday of the Resurrection). In all of these liturgies we contemplate how it is that God has revealed His great love for us as we journey with Jesus through His Passion, His Death, and His Resurrection.
Celebrating Holy Week is not an obligation, but it is an opportunity! It is a chance to walk with the Church as she walks with the Lord, her Bridegroom, through the most important week in the history of the world. It is a chance to focus our minds on, and seek to intensify our affection for, the most important and timeless of realities.
Without any arm-twisting or conscience-pressing, I encourage you to consider how YOU might make the most of this week. These are some of the darkest and brightest days in the history of the world, rich with soul-sustaining food and life-clarifying vision. Holy Week is an opportunity for us to pause and ponder, to carefully mark each day and not let this greatest of all weeks fly by us like every other.
During these holy days, in particular Holy Saturday night, we also celebrate the Easter Sacraments for those who have been preparing, as adults, to enter into the Catholic faith. Each year I stand and watch this miracle unfold and every year I am moved and inspired by the love and commitment of those who have chosen to become a part of our faith. Their becoming Catholic, whether through the waters of Baptism or by a Profession of Faith connects beautifully to the message of Easter: that you will not find the Lord among the dead, nor will you find Him in an empty tomb. No He is living, He is raised from the dead, He is among you! He is everywhere His people are, you will find Him where hope fights despair, where love battles injustice, where compassion dries the tears of the suffering. He is in our parish family, He is among our catechumens, our candidates, and each of our parishioners who desire to spread His light in the darkness of our world, who desire to be instruments of His love and mercy in the lives of those around them, and in those who desire to share in the glory of the Resurrection!
We move today into the most solemn week, Holy Week, and prepare ourselves for the celebration of Christ’s Passion, Death, and Resurrection. We begin this week’s long journey with Christ, aware that each of us was in His mind and heart as He endured His suffering to be the sacrifice that takes away our sins. Through His wounds we are healed. Through His resurrection each of us has the hope and promise of sharing in that new life of the resurrection. The renewal of our Baptismal Promises on Easter Sunday will remind us of our hope of forgiveness and our hope in the resurrection!
Come and join us as we journey with the Lord. Please take time this week to join us for the special liturgies that will take place, a list of which can be found on page 8 of this bulletin.
Final Penance Opportunities before Easter…we will offer two additional options for the Sacrament of Reconciliation before Easter. This Tuesday from 6-7PM in the classrooms of Saint Thomas Becket Church we will have Father O’Neill, myself, and a few other priests present for the opportunity for individual confession while Julia will be in the Church playing prayerful music. Come spend time with the Lord in prayer and celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Also, we will hear confessions beginning at 9:30AM on Saturday morning in St. Bridget Church.
Our Parish Corporal Works of Mercy Update…thank you for your donations last weekend to Shelter the Homeless. We collected $5,402.00, which will be sent to Saint Vincent DePaul Shelter this week! Thank you for your great generosity to helping the homeless. This weekend we are working to Visit the Imprisoned by donating Good News Bibles and/or Pocket Dictionaries. Thank you for all you have done this Lent through these Corporal Works of Mercy to make a difference in the lives of so many.
As always, remember to pray for our parish family and ask God’s blessings as we build His kingdom here. Please know that I am praying for you, and I ask for your prayers for me, that together through the intercession of Saint Bridget of Sweden, our Patroness, and united in the Eucharist, we will reflect the presence of Jesus to the world.