12 Apr 2019 | Posted by: chadmin
This weekend we enter Holy Week. Everything we celebrate as Christians relates in one way or another to this week. We are encouraged to deeply reflect on His Life, His Death, and His Resurrection. Holy Week represents a culmination to the Lenten journey. Every year, Lent takes on a little more or a little different significance for me as a priest. Because of the infinite nature of God, there is always something new to discover about God and ourselves.
The Holy Week liturgies begin with our recalling the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem. The Jews that accompanied Jesus from Galilee waved palm branches to celebrate the one who comes in the name of the Lord. This entrance was obviously protested by the Jewish leaders of Jerusalem, who told the followers of Jesus to be quiet. The response of Jesus is the invitation for all of us. If they were quiet, Jesus said, the stones would cry out. This entrance of Jesus into His own city was so significant that all nature recognized it. The days that lead to the Passion are filled with Jesus proclaiming truth which increased the tension between Jesus and the religious leaders. Liturgically, Lent ends with the beginning of the Triduum. The Triduum is a liturgical season by itself, even though it’s only three days. In these three days, we recall the Last Supper in which Jesus recalled the Jewish freedom from Egyptian slavery with the Passover and instituted the Eucharist and the Priesthood. The supper leads to the agony in the garden, betrayal, trial, scourging, crucifixion and death. The quietness of Holy Saturday invites us into the tomb with Jesus and prepares us for the Easter Resurrection. In three short days, we recall and liturgically experience the great mysteries of our faith.
The Triduum begins with the remembrance of the Last Supper by our parish Mass at 7pm on April 18 leads to the Good Friday liturgy at 3pm on April 19. The Resurrection is first proclaimed at the Easter Vigil starting at 8pm on April 20. If you are able to attend these liturgies, I can’t stress enough how the liturgy of the Church allows us to truly experience this Holy Week walk with Jesus. The Triduum is truly a parish retreat built into the liturgical calendar. Please do your best to attend these liturgies.
We have a penance service on Monday evening. Six priests will be present to hear confessions, if you would like to receive forgiveness. This is one of the best ways to prepare to celebrate Easter. At the end of the Holy Thursday Mass, we will have the traditional Altar of Repose in order to enter the garden scene with Jesus. The Altar of Repose is set up on the left side of the church at the Mary statue location. The Eucharist is reserved in a Tabernacle and church will remain open until midnight for private prayer. Once again this year, Bishop Jenky will visit St. Philomena between about 9:30 and 10pm with at least 150 pilgrims to pray at our Altar of Repose for a few minutes. You are all invited to attend this time of prayer. I give a special invitation to the Easter Vigil, starting at 8pm. This is the most beautiful Mass of the year. Twenty-six adults have prepared to join the Church at the Vigil. It’s always nice to have a big crowd pray with them and officially welcome them into the Church. The liturgy is a little longer than the typical Mass because we recall the whole story of salvation and celebrate the sacraments of baptism and confirmation. The Mass is typically under two hours and includes a nice party in the Banquet Room after Mass to welcome the new Catholics. If you are free Holy Saturday night, please consider joining us for the beautiful liturgy of the Easter Vigil.