We begin this holiest week with the blessing and procession with palms and the Mass of Palm Sunday, including telling the story of the Passion and Death of the Lord according to Luke. But Palm Sunday is brought to a glorious close at 7 pm. by a special concert of sacred music by our beloved choir under the direction of Marty Cunningham. “Come to the Cross” will be presented in the sanctuary of church and will include instrumentalists and guest soloists.  It would be awesome if we could fill the church, not only to show our support for our choristers who week in and week out add special dignity to our liturgical celebrations, but also to allow ourselves to be inspired by the beauty of the music they present and really the whole experience. It can set the tone for the week that will unfold.

 

Then this holy week picks up big time on Holy Thursday—the solemn SACRED TRIDUUM!  One solemn feast spread over three days!  It begins with the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Thursday Evening, April 18, at 7 pm. It is on this day that we commemorate our Lord’s giving us the sacred banquet of his Most Holy Body and Blood, food to sustain us on our life’s journey.  And we learn from John’s Gospel that the gift of Eucharist is irreparably connected with the mandate for us to be servants of our brothers and sisters. Thus we have the beautiful ceremony of the washing of feet.  Fr. Jim and I and at least one other will be happy to wash the feet of any who come forward.  Won’t you consider doing so?  It’s just a symbolic pouring of water over at least one foot and then drying it with a towel. After the Mass, there is a procession with the remaining Eucharist to the “altar of repose” in the Friars Chapel where folks will be welcome to come for adoration until 10 pm.  You can join the friars in praying Night Prayer at that time!

 

The Triduum continues with the Celebration of the Lord’s Passion on Good Friday beginning at 1:30 pm.  This is a very simply, but profoundly moving celebration, which includes the Passion Story according to St. John, intercessions for all the world,  an opportunity for personal veneration of the Cross and the reception of Holy Communion.

 

Our celebration of Easter begins with the Solemn liturgy of the Easter Vigil.  The celebration will be a bit shorter than in previous years for we have only one person being baptized.  There are a number of individuals who are in the process of joining the Church but are not yet ready to celebrate the sacraments of initiation.  But the Vigil, which begins outside in the dark and processes into the church, will offer each of us the opportunity to personally renew our own Baptismal commitment.  The celebration culminates with the Solemn Easter Mass!  A kind benefactor Is making ice cream ready for all to enjoy after the Mass.  We are grateful for his beneficence.

 

As always there are two solemn Masses on Easter morning.  Wouldn’t it be great if we filled the church for each part of the holy Triduum.  Afterall, we are celebrating the victory of life over death.  We are one again given the opportunity to journey with Jesus through the last days of his life on earth—his Last Supper with his apostles and his gift to all of us of the Eucharist of his Body and Blood, his life-giving death and his glorious resurrection.  There will be bottles of blessed holy water for individuals to take home with them after each of the Masses to keep the spirit alive in our homes.  A blessed Easter to each parishioner of St. Clement Parish!