For several weeks, since our Ash Wednesday, we have been focused on “BECOME…FORVER CHANGED” in our journey towards Easter. What we have experienced so far has been both personal & shared as a faith community. My prayers have been that each of us in some way has experienced some “Becoming” that has blessed us in ways of being “Forever Changed” in ways that draws us closer in relationship with Jesus.
We are now on the threshold of Jerusalem. We are arriving at our Holy Week and the Lord is inviting us to walk with Him through these “gates” that will turn from joyous celebrations, to pain, agony, sorrow and death to the resonating alleluias resounding that death has been conquered by eternal life.
I hope and pray that all of us who are present to this Holy Week will gather together as much as possible to be with the Lord. We have many opportunities this Holy Week to continue our Lenten Journey of “BECOME…FOREVER CHANGED.”
We begin with our Palm Sunday Services. We go from celebratory moments to the reality of the Passion being proclaimed.
On Holy Tuesday, the Church of Rochester (everyone is welcomed to attend) will gather at 7 PM at Sacred Heart Cathedral for the Chrism Mass. At this mass all the oils we use in the coming year will be blessed. The Oil of Chrism, the Oil of Catechumens and the Oil of the Sick, will come from our Cathedral and be presented to our faith communities at our Holy Thursday Mass. This will take place Holy Thursday evening at the Church of the Transfiguration at 7PM. Following this beautiful mass, we have the opportunity to gather before the Blessed Sacrament in Adoraiton until 11 PM. You can stay after mass, come whenever your available and just be in the peaceful presence of our Lord.
Good Friday, we will have services at both of our churches. At 2:30 at the Church of the Transfiguration we will gather and at 3 PM Saint Catherine of Siena will gather. This same evening “simple stations” will be offered at 7 PM at the Church of the Transfiguration.
Holy Saturday has some offerings before our night service. For years, I have been blessing food baskets. A tradition of Polish and Ukrainian heritage, but every nationality is welcomed. Folks bring foods that will be used at their Easter meals. We pray together, look to see what each basket beholds and bless all the generous morsels/gifts the Lord has provided. It is a moment of smiles on the faces of those attending. It will take place at Saint Catherine’s at 11 AM. If you haven’t attended before, come, check it out! And, the Easter Bunny will make an early appearance for an Egg Hunt at high noon at Saint Catherine’s. It is for ages 0-21+++++! Yes, not only for children but adults as well will our Easter Hunt grab your heart and basket. Please register, if you would, to help the Easter Bunny prepare at www.saintcath.org/easter-egg-hunt
Then this Holy and Sacred Night, we will come together for our Easter Vigil at 8 PM in the church of Saint Catherine of Siena. It is the most beautiful mass that recalls our entire history of faith. If you have attended you know how special it is. If you have never been, I assure you, you do not know what you are missing. Yes, it is a longer mass, but it is an opportunity to further “BECOME …FOREVER CHANGED” in your relationship with Jesus Christ!!!
So, I conclude in writing this message, but, I can never conclude in expressing all my faith in the One we acknowledge this week. We carry much in our hearts, souls and very persons. I am particularly aware of that in my own life currently. I call on all the beautiful scriptures we have been given these past several weeks, knowing that prayer, fasting and almsgiving can bring us closer to being with Jesus. That we have many moments like the one on the mountain top where we hear personally, “this is my beloved Son…listen to him.” And that there is a “well” before each and every one of us that can satisfy our thirsts, that I have an opportunity to examine our faith, like Martha and Mary, and decide to believe as these women, “Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.”
I hope to see you my friends often in these coming days. I know it is “spring break” for students. Humbly, I say, for those still here in our midst this week, might we make our “spring break” an encounter to be with Him in preparing for our Easter Day?!
With heartfelt faith, prayer and blessing,