The symbols of Holy Week are large and lush, starting with today's procession of palms.
This weekend we celebrate Palm Sunday and the beginning of Holy Week. I hope that you will join us for prayer during this Holy Week beginning with our Lenten Prayer Service at 7:00 PM on Monday. On Thursday, we begin the celebration of the Sacred Triduum, literally the “three days”, which I explained last week. The liturgy begins with the celebration of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday evening and continues on Friday as we observe the Lord’s Passion. It culminates in the celebration of the Easter Vigil after dark on Holy Saturday night. This is one liturgy in three separate movements. If you have never celebrated the Triduum in its entirety, I invite you to this awesome experience of the Paschal Mystery: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again! This is the basis of our faith.
As I said, the symbols of Holy Week are large and lush: beginning with a procession of palms, continuing with the fragrant oils consecrated at the Chrism Mass at Sacred Heart Cathedral Tuesday night and presented on Holy Thursday to the local communities. During the Triduum we fast from daily Mass, but the symbols of a bowl, a towel, and a pitcher are brought forth for washing feet. Bread and wine transformed in a ritual meal recalling the very first such Eucharist, a solemn procession with the Eucharist and clouds of incense, followed by adoration before the Blessed Sacrament well into the night. Good Friday ministers lying prostrate on the sanctuary floor, a large wooden cross carried into the church so we may each venerate it, recalling Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice on our behalf…deafening silences, empty tabernacles, dry holy water and baptismal fonts and extinguished sanctuary lamps…utter darkness. Finally, a vigil fire…the singing of the Exsultet…a new paschal candle initiating a sea of vigil lights…Gloria’s and Alleuia’s resurrected…new Easter water blessed… baptismal promises renewed.
These times of prayer are longer than our usual Sunday liturgy – which is why we should come to celebrate our faith and not stay away because services are a little longer. The celebrations this week are so rich. These ritual actions are only done once a year. In that sense, they are both beautifully new and comfortingly familiar. It is the telling of our story as we recall all that our God has done for and with us. Moving prayerfully through this Holy Week is a gift that the Lord offers us. The invitation of the passion story is always to be there and to see how the events that we commemorate have cosmic implications – for us and for the entire world.
When we enter fully into the story we begin to see every choice, chance and circumstance of our lives as God wooing us, seducing us, alluring us, calling us to return with all our hearts. When we do, our hearts are filled with peace and joy, and who among us cannot use an extra dose of peace and joy?
I described the action and flow of this week’s liturgies the way they should be, knowing they will be somewhat adjusted to respect the priority of COVID safety.
Please come and join the grand celebration of the history of our faith and redemption.
Finally thank you for completing and returning the Mass Survey! Please keep the Clustering Committee in your prayers. May the Lord continue to bless our journey forward!
Blessings in 2021!
Let us continue to pray for peace in our world!
In peace and courage,
PS – Wonderful news for Booneville, Owsley County! You are so generous; because of your generosity, we were able to send $24,000 to Holy Family Parish, Srs. Marge and Angie, to assist the local Owsley County residents in their recovery from the recent flooding.
Praise God and Thank You!