Dear friends in Christ,
Our celebration today on Passion (Palm) Sunday leads us into the most sacred and special season of the Church’s liturgical calendar,
. The palm branches we bless and carry today remind us of the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem. He comes not as a victorious king as some had hoped for, but rather as a willing servant that lays down His life for all. May these palms remind us of that entrance and, most importantly, what follows. Are we willing to go to the cross with Christ and die to the sin in our lives? If so, then this will indeed be a triumphant journey that ends not in death but victory and life.
I urge you to make this entire week different than normal. Don’t simply go on with all the other tasks of the week and then rush to Mass on Easter morning. Enter into the beauty and rhythm of the week and I guarantee it will make a difference in your spiritual life. Let’s take a look at each day in
Holy Week and the schedule of services here at CtR
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday - April 10-11-12
: These are the final days of the season of Lent. How has your 40-day journey been? Have you kept to your Lenten promises and sacrifices? Has it been, to use common language, a “good Lent”? If so, great. Stay the course these final days. But if not, fear not! There is still time to turn it around. Use these final three days to recommit yourself to the Lenten journey. Remember the hallmarks of Lent: prayer, fasting and almsgiving.
Holy Thursday, April 13, Mass at 7 p.m.
: Lent ends quietly on Thursday morning and we begin the season of the Triduum with the Mass of the Lord’s Supper as we celebrate both the institution of the Eucharist and the ministerial priesthood. We do so in service to others represented by the washing of feet and the Eucharistic Procession and
Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament
after Mass. We will process from the main church into the chapel to spend time in Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament until 12 midnight. As the Eucharist is at the heart of Catholic faith and the priesthood is forever tied to that sacrifice, this is a most special Mass for the life of the Church community. It’s a beautiful, prayerful service.
Good Friday, April 14, Service at 3 p.m.
: Darkness comes over the land as we remember the death on the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Our service begins at 3 p.m. (Note that this is the only day of the year that Mass is not celebrated; the Service of the Word, the reading of the Passion, and the veneration of the cross frame this day). I know that not all are able to come at the traditional time of 3 p.m., but if your schedule allows, it I certainly hope you will make every effort to join us.
I would especially call your attention to our Good Friday service of tre ore (Italian for “three hours”) from 11:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. It’s a perfect time for prayer and contemplation. The church will be open for you to make the Stations of the Cross individually if you wish and there will be periodic Scripture readings, hymns and reflections. Remember as well that Good Friday is a day of both fast and abstinence.
Holy Saturday, April 15, Easter Vigil at 8:30 p.m
.: The morning is quiet as we contemplate and meditate on the death of Jesus Christ. There is a small prayer service for our Elect who are in the final hours of their preparation for entrance into the Church. If you do nothing else this Holy Week, please keep in prayer these 16 bothers and sisters of ours, who will be baptized and the 11 others who will make their full entry into the Church the following week. At 9:45 a.m. we will bless Easter baskets and Easter foods in the chapel. It’s a good way to keep holy the commercial aspect of Easter. If your kids have Easter baskets, bring them for a blessing and bring food items for your Easter table that you would like blessed. It’s one of those simple practices of our faith that takes a few minutes, but is a nice tradition to pass on to the next generation.
Easter Vigil Mass at 8:30 p.m.
is the highest, most holy celebration of the entire Church year and I hope you will participate in it fully. It is a longer Mass than a regular Sunday service, but I truly hope you will clear your night and celebrate with us. Come this year and give yourself over to the beauty and power of the Easter Vigil and experience the lighting of the new fire, the story of salvation history in the readings from Scripture, the baptisms of newest members, the oil of Chrism that confirms them, and finally the grace of Holy Eucharist of the Risen Christ! What greater gift could God give us? This is the night to sing to the heavens “Alleluia! Alleluia!”
Easter Sunday, April 16, Masses at 7 a.m., 9 a.m., 11 a.m., and 1 p.m., with additional Masses at 7 a.m., 9 a.m., and 11 a.m. in the Parish Hall
: This day of days dawns to find the crucified Christ risen in glory. Please note our Mass schedule is slightly different than the regular Sunday schedule: the last Mass of the day will begin at 1 p.m., not the usual 5 p.m. The three Masses in the Parish Hall will not use incense, so if your allergies are troublesome, you might keep that in mind. As always we expect very large crowds. Let’s practice hospitality and be especially welcoming to visitors and newcomers. Allow yourself plenty of time to get to Mass, follow the traffic officers, and obey the parking signs (additional parking will be available next door at Cypress Gymnastics). It’s a great opportunity to show God’s love to everyone. The impression we leave may just be the thing someone needs to get back into a regular practice of the faith.
All of these great services and events of
Holy Week and Easter
do not happen without committed volunteers, staff and ministers. My special thanks to all who give so much of their time and talent in service to the community, especially our
Art & Environment
departments. If you are an
Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion
, please double-check this week with your liturgical coordinators to assure that everything is covered. We will need many ministers at every Mass so please volunteer to help where possible. Above all let’s make this a prayerful week so that our Lenten journey can culminate in a glorious Easter!