We have begun Holy Week. In a few days Lent ends as we move into the THREE MOST IMPORTANT DAYS OF THE YEAR. I SINCERELY HOPE YOU WILL JOIN US FOR THE LITURGIES OF THIS SACRED TIME. Is this “the year” that you participate in the full Triduum?
Due to the nature of Holy Week we will have a number of visitors so please make every effort to greet anyone you don’t recognize as well as those you know. Make it known that “ALL ARE WELCOME in this place” Remember, however, that on HOLY THURSDAY AND GOOD FRIDAY WE DEPART THE CHURCH IN SILENCE. This means that all of our greeting and visiting needs to be done before these liturgies begin.
The liturgies of this week are unique yet remain with us all year. On Holy Thursday we receive the Holy Oils, blessed and consecrated by Archbishop Vigneron that very morning at the Cathedral. The Oil of the Sick, used to anoint our ill looking for healing and our ill whose healing leads them to eternal life; The Oil of Catechumens, used to anoint those preparing for baptism; and the Sacred Chrism, used to anoint the newly baptized and seal that baptism in Confirmation. Sacred Chrism is the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. On Holy Thursday we also wash feet, celebrate the Holy Eucharist and then we spend quiet time with the Lord in Eucharistic Adoration. By the grace of God, in this Year of Mercy, the Feast of Blessed Archbishop Oscar Romero, martyr, coincides with Holy Thursday.
Strictly speaking there is no Mass on Good Friday. The liturgy of the Church is in three parts: The liturgy of the Word; the veneration of the cross; and the communion rite. Following the liturgy the TABERNACLE IS EMPTY – and we feel that emptiness. GOOD FRIDAY IS A DAY OF FAST (only one full meal) AND ABSTINENCE (no meat is eaten.) Enjoy your one meal at our parish Fish Fry!
On Holy Saturday night we gather to celebrate the night unlike all other nights. We assemble in darkness, light the new fire (in it we consume the sacred oils from the previous year), and from that fire, we light our new paschal candle – Christ our Light. We listen to an extended liturgy of the word, recalling that these stories of our ancestors continue to be lived in our own lives. This culminates in the proclamation of the belief that is the foundation of our faith: the resurrection of Christ, the defeat of death in all its forms. JOIN US FOR THE EASTER VIGIL, THE GREATEST CELEBRATION OF THE ENTIRE YEAR. JOIN US FOR THE SACRED TRIDUUM.
The “Mercy Moment” for Holy Week belongs to Graham Greene. This 20th century author frequently took up Catholic themes, though he eschewed being called “a Catholic novelist.” Mercy was a theme on which Greene frequently focused, perhaps most famously with the character of the “whiskey priest” in his classic work, The Power and the Glory. Graham Greene seemed to grasp, better than most that we are saved not despite our brokenness but rather in, through and because of our brokenness.
“There was a man, a good man, a holy man, and he lived in sin all through his life, because he couldn’t bear the idea that any soul could suffer damnation. This man decided that if any soul was going to be damned, he would be damned too. He never took the sacraments, he never married his wife in church. I don’t know, my child, but some people think he was – well, a saint. I think he died in what we are told is mortal sin – I’m not sure. . . You can’t conceive, my child, nor can I or anyone, the appalling strangeness of the mercy of God.” (Brighton Rock.)