From the Pastor – April 17, 2011

It was now about noon and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon because of an eclipse of the sun. Then the veil of the temple was torn down the middle. Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit”; and when he had said this he breathed his last. (Lk. 23:44-46)

“Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion” begins Holy Week. If it has been a while since you have experienced all of the services of Holy Week, consider doing so this year. Commemorating the events of the Lord’s Suffering and Death help us to have a greater understanding of the importance of the Resurrection and Easter Sunday. Jesus had to suffer and die before he rose!

On Holy Thursday we will celebrate the Mass of the Lord’s Supper at 7:00 p.m., which commemorates the institution of the Holy Eucharist when Jesus washed his Apostle’s feet. This Mass ends Lent and begins the Sacred Triduum. At the conclusion of this Mass, the Eucharist is removed from the mainTabernacle in the church and “reposed” in another altar to commemorate Jesus’ being arrested and jailed. This year we have Adoration at this Altar of Repose from the end of Mass until the sun rises on Good Friday at 6:00 a.m.  On Good Friday the church will be open beginning at 7:00am for those who are walking to visit the nine churches. Also open will be St. Henry Church and Our Lady of Good Counsel Church, both of which will be closed at noon. I will be hearing Confessions in St. Stephen Church from 9:00am until 12:00pm.

Later on Good Friday the Veneration of the Cross will take placed 3:00 p.m., the hour of the death of Our Lord. Stations of the Cross will be at 6:00 p.m.

Holy Saturday is a day of great stillness, as we remember that Christ died and descended into Hell. That great stillness is broken by the joy of the Easter Vigil Mass at 8:00 p.m., when we loudly proclaim the Resurection of Our Lord. The Easter Vigil will be preceded by Confessions beginning at 6:30 p.m. There will be no 4:00 p.m. vigil Mass, and Masses on Easter Sunday will be as usual at 8:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.

This weekend there is a sign-up sheet at the back of church for those who will respond to the plea of Jesus “to stay awake with me one hour” (Mt. 26:40) on Holy Thursday. It is one of the most solemn nights of the year to contemplate Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane as he prepares for his Passion and Death. Please consider taking one of the hours to fill out our Holy Thursday Vigil. And please consider attending all of the events of Holy Week, which is the most important week of the year for all Catholics.

Rev. Msgr. Christopher H. Nalty