As we now enter the Fifth Week of Lent, we prepare for a very full Holy Week which will climax with the Easter Vigil when the movement from dark to light takes us through the mystery of Christ's death to his resurrection. Holy Week begins with Palm Sunday on March 25. It is by participating in the events of Holy Week that one may experience Easter in all its fullness. I hope you will join in all that we offer.
At 6:00 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of Holy Week we will offer our wonderful Reflective Dinners. At the Reflective Dinners we gather in the Parish Hall for a simple meal. This year Fr. Bob will present the readings from the book What Do You Seek?, a set of meditations on the questions Jesus asks his disciples in the Gospel of John. This book was written by Fr. Michael Buckley SJ, for Bob's theology teacher in seminary. At the Reflective Dinners, it is as if we too are in the upper room with the first disciples listening as Jesus speaks to us through these readings and through the words of the Gospel of St. John. We conclude with a Eucharist around the table celebrated by Pastor John Santoro.
The Paschal Triduum, or the Three Great Days, begins Maundy Thursday, March 29. We will celebrate the Liturgy that evening at 7:00 p.m. I will wash the feet of those who with to participate. We conclude with the stripping of the Altar and the darkening of the Church. The second of the Three Great Days is Good Friday March 30. The Liturgy will begin at 12:00 and includes the Passion according to St. John, the Solemn Collects for the Church and the World, and the Mass of the Pre-Sanctified where we consume the Sacrament consecrated on Maundy Thursday and placed on the Altar of Repose. The liturgy concludes around 1:30 p.m.
Another special part of our Easter is the Preparations on Holy Saturday, which is March 31 Preparing the Church, the breakfast, and the Easter Eggs is a wonderful opportunity for parishioners to enjoy one another in an atmosphere of fun and anticipation. You are all urged to come by and help out.
The climax of the Triduum is the Great Vigil of Easter at 5:30 a.m. Easter Day, April 1. This is the central and most important Liturgy of the entire Church year. Everything we do as Christians has its foundation here. We will begin the Great Vigil with the Liturgy of the Light, the New Fire being kindled in the Church by a young person of our parish. The wonder of this liturgy will be made palpable for us as the Resurrection window gradually fills with light as we hear the stories of God’s mighty acts to save his people. If we are lucky, by the time we get to the baptism, the sun will come over the hill, stream through the back windows, and flood the Church with light as we cry, “Alleluia, Christ is Risen!” After the Eucharist, we will emerge into the new day to Easter Eggs and our parish breakfast.
The children in CGS will be in Church for the Exsultet then go to the atriums for their own Liturgy of the Light.
We’ll conclude Easter Day with a Festal Choral Eucharist at 10:15 a.m., our normal time of. There will be childcare, Easter Eggs for the young and young at heart to hunt, and coffee hour as well.
For all of us, the more we participate in the events of Holy Week, the richer will be our Easter experience. We do all this so that we all may live the Christian faith in depth and experience joy in doing so. We look forward to a most wonderful Easter. I hope that all of you will participate fully.
Fr. Robert J. Gaestel