Dear Friends in Christ:
Blessed Holy Week to all of you! It is certainly a Holy Week like none other for all of us; but also, one during which we are most intimately connected to Christ on His journey from acclamation on Palm Sunday, to condemnation and crucifixion on Good Friday, and ultimately to resurrection on Easter Sunday.
In a very real way, actually, we have already been walking that journey with Jesus ever since the outbreak of Covid-19. Similar to Jesus’ joyful entry into Jerusalem, our lives as individuals and as a national family were relatively comfortable, and our economy was strong and acclaimed. In the matter of a few short weeks, however, that has changed dramatically; and we all now find ourselves carrying various crosses related to this pandemic. But Holy Week reminds us that there is the glorious new life of Easter after the seeming defeat of Good Friday! And that will also be true for all of us in our current situation. The pandemic will pass; and through our collective efforts and our love for neighbor, and by the providential grace of God, we will rise on the other side of it!
So, let us be determined to take the lessons we are learning regarding love, faith, hopefulness, compassion, perseverance, sacrifice, and a new appreciation for one another, and our Lord Jesus, and our Catholic faith, into every day of our lives henceforth. Let us walk faithfully with our beloved Jesus through Holy Week, never doubting that He is by our side in our struggles. And let us renew our baptismal commitment to carry His light with us everywhere we go. God bless each and every one of you; we look forward with eager hearts to seeing you in church once again!
Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord
For the time being, we are restricted by Diocesan directive from passing out palms until a later date when it is safer to do so. But palms have been blessed for your home use, and as soon as we get word from the Diocese we will make sure to make them available to you!
The church remains open every day for your private prayer time from 8:30 a.m. until 7:00 p.m., and various resources are available for your use both in the narthex of the church and on our parish web-site. Holy Week in particular is a good time to pray the stations of the cross. And you are welcome to do so on your own either inside the church or with our beautiful outdoor stations. As always, if you are in an “at risk” group, we encourage you to remain home for the time-being and to say your prayers there. And if you do venture out and stop by the church, make sure to use the hand sanitizer you find in the narthex, and to maintain the 6-foot recommended distancing at all times. Finally, it would be good to seriously consider the most recent recommendations regarding the wearing of masks while out in public.
Confessions, Wednesday of Holy Week
Confessions will be available from 10:00 a.m. until 12:00 Noon on Wednesday. For those who are not able to leave their homes, and those who are uncomfortable coming to church at this time, be assured that for now you can confess your sins directly to the Father, telling Him honestly what you have done, and asking for His pardon. Then pray an Act of Contrition, and tell Him: “I promise to go to confession as soon as I am able, but for now, please forgive my sins.” And you will immediately be restored into a state of grace with God!
Holy Thursday, Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper
Please join us for a live-streaming of Mass at 7:00 in the evening, as we give thanks for Christ’s institution of the Eucharist! Please note that in order to ready the sanctuary for the Mass, we will need to close the church for private prayer a half hour earlier than usual, at 6:30 p.m.
Good Friday of the Passion of the Lord
Please join us for a live-streaming of the Lord’s Passion and veneration of the cross at 3:00 in the afternoon. The church will be closed to private prayer from 2:30 p.m. until after the service concludes, but will then re-open for your use until 7:00 in the evening. While you will not have the opportunity to kiss or touch the cross of Christ, it will remain before the altar after the service for your veneration and love. Please maintain the 6-foot distancing requirement while you do so, and be respectful of the private space of others.
Traditional blessing of Easter baskets and food
Have your Easter baskets and food presented and ready-to-go at home, and then join us on Saturday morning at 9:30 for a live-streaming of the traditional blessing. This is a wonderful tradition enjoyed by many cultures, and a fantastic way to enter into Easter as a family. And make sure the kids have their colored Easter eggs ready for the blessing, as well! The Holy Spirit is not bound by geography and space when we invoke His blessing, and He will surely honor our desire to bless whatever food items and baskets you have gathered in your home!
Holy Saturday Easter Vigil
Though there will be no celebration of baptisms and confirmations this year, the Vigil is still a beautiful celebration of our salvation in Christ. Join us for a live-streaming of the Vigil at 7:30 in the evening. And while the Vigil most years is often too long for younger children to appreciate, the shorter version this year may be a good introduction for them about the beauty of Holy Saturday night.
Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of the Lord
The pinnacle of the Church year…the celebration of our salvation in Christ! Join us at 9:00 in the morning for a live-streaming of the Mass. Dress in your “Easter finest,” and know that we are truly united around the altar of Christ as we all renew our Baptismal promises together. And then enjoy your traditional Easter meal, secure in the knowledge that we are loved unconditionally by God, saved in Christ, and will be together again at St. Mary’s very soon!
Bishop Malloy’s Letter (Updated 4/9)