Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
In this Year of Mercy, we begin the most solemn and sacred celebrations of our Church year this week. The central point of our faith is Christ’s passion, death and resurrection. These liturgies are viewed as one liturgy reminding us how to live our faith in the world, to live as people of hope. These liturgies express the consoling mercy of God through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. There is no other point of our yearly celebrations of Eucharist. In Christ’s resurrection we find our home here on earth.
The Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper:
We begin the Sacred Triduum on Holy Thursday at Sacred Heart at 7:00pm. There is only one liturgy celebrated on Holy Thursday in every parish. In the Tri-Community, we unite on this night to celebrate the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper. During this Mass, twelve members of our community will offer their feet to be washed as Jesus washed the feet of the disciples, helping us pray the connection of prayer and service.
Washing feet is an act of justice that we live in our world. We care for the dignity of every human person from this simple action. Take to heart how you wash feet of your loved ones and serve people in every act of consolation and mercy.
The Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper concludes by processing with the Eucharist out of the church and to an altar of repose. This gesture reveals the presence of Christ from the Last Supper and into the garden of Gethsemane before his death. The alter area is stripped of all non-essentials and the Real Presence of Christ is taken away. In our community, we will process to the parish center where there will be time for Adoration until 9:45pm, followed by Night Prayer.
Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion:
The second Triduum liturgy takes place at Sacred Heart Church at 3:00pm on Good Friday. This is the traditional time for this Holy Week liturgy. During this sacred prayer we proclaim Christ’s death from the Gospel of John. This is the only day of our entire year that Mass is not celebrated. Eucharist is distributed from the consecrated hosts from Holy Thursday. We also pray the longest intercessory prayers of the year. This liturgy recalls our need for God amid the violence, heartache, and loss of our lives. We hold up to Christ the wars, the torture and issues of our world that seem to bring us to despair. We kiss the cross after our Lenten journey, remembering how the Church reached out and marked our lives with the cross of ashes. We pray for the weak and vulnerable. We leave this liturgy in silence as we wait together for new life and resurrection.
The Easter Vigil in the Holy Night of Easter:
We begin the Easter Vigil at 8:00pm on Holy Saturday evening. This Mass is highlight of all of our yearlong liturgies. We begin in darkness and bless the new fire. We bless the Paschal Candle that will be used throughout the year. We proclaim our salvation history with scriptures, sung palms and prayer. We proclaim Christ’s Resurrection from the dead with words from the holy and ancient Gospel. We bless water and welcome those adults who have been preparing all year for baptism. We anoint these holy men and women with the Chrism oil in the Sacrament of Confirmation. We welcome them to the Table of Eucharist for the first time. This is the night! This is the meaning of our Church in Christ’s Resurrection! We belong together in Christ’s love, resurrection and hope for all God’s people.
Morning Prayer of the Sacred Triduum:
I also want to invite you to Morning Prayer on Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday at 8:00am. NO MORNING MASS is celebrated on these holy days. Members of our staff will preach during our Morning Prayer. Holy Thursday: Rob Plush Good Friday: Sister Mary, Holy Saturday: Fr. Ron. Please join us for this simple sung liturgy.
Pope Francis invites us into the heart of Jesus’ love and mercy. Please pray for the needs of the world this week. The Church is depending on you to receive the love God has for you this week. Ask for what you need. Pray for reconciliation and peace. Make our faith mean something new for you. Invoke the Holy Spirit. Get involved in prayer. The mercy of God is for the most stubborn of heart, the gravest sins and the most profound misunderstandings.
Let us collect our prayer together in a holy longing during this week. Pray for those who have given up on faith. Pray for all who carry burdens that are too heavy for the human heart. Pray for all who are marginalized and who carry their secret burdens. Pray for our families who may be separated by the lack of forgiveness and stubbornness. Pray for our elderly who may live in fear. Pray for our children who look to God and us for inspiration and hope for the future. Pray for our parish community, for our future, that we may use our rich talents and daily prayer to continue to invigorate God’s Kingdom on earth.
Blessings and peace during this sacred week,