Dear friends in Christ,
This is the 5th Sunday of Lent, but our Lenten journey is not over. In fact we’re entering the home stretch. We’ve got one more full week of Lent this week, and then next week we celebrate Palm Sunday and the
beginning of Holy Week
. In today’s Gospel we hear a precursor of Easter with the resurrection of Lazarus. Just as Jesus raises Lazarus from the realm of the dead, so too shall Jesus Himself rise from the dead.
How about us? Are we prepared to die and rise with Jesus? If your Lent has been less than spiritually fruitful, fear not. There is still time to have “a good Lent.” Recommit yourself to your prayer, fasting and almsgiving the next two weeks and see if you don’t see an improvement in your walk with the Lord. I’m always saddened by those who say, “Well, I broke my Lenten promise, so I’ll just wait until next year and try harder then.” Nonsense! Remember the words of Ash Wednesday: “Now is an acceptable time!” The time is now to return to the Lord. There are still plenty of good days ahead to prepare yourself for the coming Easter celebration.
Today at the 9 a.m. Mass we celebrate the third and final Scrutiny for our Catechumens who will be baptized at the Easter Vigil. Please remember to keep them in your prayers, as well as our Candidates (those who have been baptized already and now seek full communion with the Church). Those candidates will be received into the Church on
Divine Mercy Sunday, April 23
It’s not too early to begin looking ahead to next Sunday and the beginning of
. Of course it begins with Passion (Palm) Sunday next week. Palms will be distributed and blessed at all Masses. Remember that the 9 a.m. Mass on Palm Sunday begins outside on the plaza as we remember Jesus’ procession and entry into Jerusalem. A nice tradition that has developed over the years at CtR is the wearing of the color red on Palm Sunday by members of the congregation. It’s the liturgical color of the day, of course, and a good reminder of the Passion and suffering our Lord endured for us.
We’ll cover more of the
Holy Week schedule
in next week’s bulletin, but to help you prepare our liturgy schedule for Triduum will be as follows: Holy Thursday, April 13, 7 p.m.; Good Friday, April 14, 3 p.m.; Holy Saturday (Easter Vigil), April 15, 8:30 p.m.; and Easter Sunday, April 16, 7 a.m., 9 a.m., 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., with additional Masses in the Parish Hall at 7, 9, and 11 a.m. There is no 5 p.m. Mass on Easter Sunday. Again, we’ll have more details next week, but plan now to join us for these most holiest of days.
As always, I make a special appeal to our
Eucharistic Ministers of Holy Communion
and other liturgical ministers to please sign-up in advance to assist at these liturgies. Easter Sunday, with our double schedule in the church and the hall, is an especially busy time. If possible, I encourage you to sign up for multiple services. I assure you the Lord will double the graces you will receive if you do!
Today is one of our most eagerly awaited weekends of the year – the unveiling of the
2017 Spring Festival
T-shirt and opening of the advance ticket booth. Our chairpersons, Mike and Camille Havelka, and the core committee will be on hand at all Masses this weekend in the Parish Hall. Stop by after Mass to get your shirts and tickets for the 32nd annual Spring Festival which will take place two weeks after Easter on April 29-30. All signs point to this being a very special year. I know Mike has lots of tricks up his sleeve that will entertain us and bring us even more enjoyment at our Festival.
It’s no secret that what makes the
such an awesome event for our parish and community is the great number of people who volunteer their time and talent over the weekend. It is Stewardship in action. Your help is especially needed to staff a shift or two (usually in a block of two hours each) in one of our many booths, rides and games. The help and support of every one in the parish, both young and old, is most needed. It’s a great way to give back to the life of the community. I highly encourage you to
make your commitment to helping our parish at the Spring Festival
In particular, I would ask that you please consider taking one of the open spots to be a booth chairman. We have several to choose from, and it’s a great way for a family or team to be involved in the Festival. You don’t have to do everything – in fact, our committee has done a great deal of the work already. We just need folks to share the load by chairing a booth. You can get your friend and neighbors involved, too.
I ask that you take a moment and do your part to help our community at the Festival. Beginning today you can turn in
for a new Ford vehicle (and pick up more), buy advance barbecue tickets, get discounted tickets for rides and games, and sign-up for donations to Plant Booth, Sweet Shop, Auction Tent, and Flea Market (it’s a great opportunity to do some spring cleaning). There’s no shortage of ways to get involved! Mark your calendar now for April 29-30. We look forward to seeing you here!
Finally, remember our final
Lenten Fish Fry
is this Friday, April 7 from 4:30-7:30 p.m. They’ve been enjoying record crowds this year, and the fish and service is better than ever. My thanks go out to all the Knights for their hard work. What a great community event it is! Come support them one final time before Holy Week, and stay for our last celebration of the Stations of the Cross at 7 p.m.
P.S.: I’ve saved the best news for last – we have a date for the groundbreaking of our new
Redeemer Activity Center
(RAC)! It will be at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 7 on the back field where the RAC will be located. More details to come soon, but we’re planning to host a big picnic for the entire parish. For now, save the date and make plans to join us for this historic moment in the life of CtR!