PASSION/PALM SUNDAY 1st APRIL 2012 CYCLE B. "H O L Y W E E K."
MESSAGE FROM THE PARISH PRIEST
My Dear People,
It is Holy Week again. Does it seem like a year since we blest the palm crosses? Well it is and this Holy Week and it will be ending with the Feast of all Feasts - the focus of the Church's; heart - the Resurrection of the Lord who lives forever.
We have celebrated the events of our Redemption in the Liturgical feasts of the last twelve months.
The Paschal Mystery of the life, suffering and death and resurrection of the Lord is the source and the expression of our whole pilgrimage of life on earth. The Paschal Mystery is our identifying mark - it forms us through and through. All of us entered into this Mystery when our parents brought us as babes (for most of us) to the waters of the Baptismal Font for us to be reborn of the Holy Spirit. We were held over the Font (Fount) of Living Water and with the pouring of water and the form of words we entered into the Tomb with Christ and rose with Him to eternal life. Death was no longer our end or our destiny but only the passageway to eternal life. "Death - where is your sting?" cries out the blessed Apostle Paul. Christ has nailed "Death" forever on the cross and now we have entered the Paschal Mystery death cannot touch us at all in any final way. These celebrations are a vital part of our life in Christ. Through the Sacred Liturgy we "touch" Jesus in the flesh. We taste and see and touch and feel and even the aroma of holiness fills our senses. We are flesh and blood as well as spirit and both are ministered to in the Sacred Rites. In the Holy Triduum we have a much heightened sense of these things I have mentioned above.
Already the church is "in wraps" as if awaiting a divine painter to come to restore its beauty. On Maundy Thursday there is no Mass in Church here until the Evening Mass of the Lord's Supper and then there will lights and flowers and processions and utter and intense devotion as the Blessed Sacrament is carried in Solemn Procession to the Altar of Repose. The Sacred Oils used in the sacraments and newly consecrated by the Bishop at the Chrism Mass in the Cathedral are brought into church. Feet are washed and kissed - yes! Sweet music accompanies these evocative moments of reliving our Lordís Gift to his Church of the Sacred Priesthood, the Mass and the Blessed Sacrament of His Body and Blood. Then we enter into the Garden with him where he sweated blood and we "keep watch and pray" until a very late hour at the Altar of repose - "can you not watch one hour with me?" Then the altars stripped bare. All is ready for the great drama of Good Friday.
On Good Friday - we listen to the Passion, we pray the Great Intercessions for the whole of humanity, we kiss the feet of our Lordís image on the Crucifix, receive Holy Communion, and give money for the Relief of our fellow Christians in the Holy land.
On Holy Saturday we observe the decorum which accompanies the death of this Tremendous Lover. Then at sunset the Paschal fire is lit and blest and the new feast of the Resurrection of 2012 is solemnly proclaimed and we listen to the story of our salvation and make our baptismal promises again and receive the Easter Holy Water and Candles. Our Church will be aglow with light and with the beauty of the flowers of the good earth. Easter joy - "He is Risen - never to die again!" We make our Easter Duties and carry home with us some of the newly blest Holy/Easter Water and sprinkle our homes with it. (Bring a bottle). Now Ė there you have it. Try to attend as many of these events as is possible within your capacity - keep these three days in the spirit of a believer.
Fr Tom Connolly
TAKE A CARD WHICH TELLS YOU THE HOLY WEEK AND EASTER MASSES ETC AND EASTER MESSAGE. THEY ARE AT HE PORCH OF HE CHURCH.
PARISH DAY OF RETREAT AT OUR LADYíS SHRINE AT KEARSLEY BY. COACH SATURDAY AFTERNOON 28TH APRIL - COST £5.
Red boxes FOR THE MISSIONS/Mill Hill have to be emptied by 111th April.. Collectors on their way round. Mrs Booth (Hon Sec)
NO EXPOSITION of the Blessed Sacrament AFTER WEDNESDAY. UNTIL MONDAY 16TH .
EASTER MESSAGE FROM THE PARISH PRIEST.
Year by year we re-live in the Holy Week Ceremonies the Suffering, death and Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Each year we get closer to the time when, having passed over from this life, we will celebrate the Paschal Feast in Heaven, in Paradise.
That should brighten my Easter and Holy Week this year because we come to celebrate our Lordís Victory over death, darkness and sin. Pope Benedict said at the Stations of the Cross for the International Youth in Madrid that "the deep and liberating truth is this...that Second Person of the Holy Trinity wanted, in a crazy act of love, to incarnate himself, to live and suffer freely for mankind: for each one of us - and to open the gates of eternal happiness for us." The news that our Lord is Risen from the tomb, never to die again is truly liberating and joy filled. Humanity no longer has the curse of death hanging over it. In Christ we find that our destiny as part of Him, is to Rise again and to live forever with God in Heaven in our Bodies as well as our souls. Remember my dear people of God - Jesus is the First Born from the dead - we who are his Body on earth will surely follow if we live in love according to his commandments.
Our Lady knew this secret and never lost hope and stood by the foot of the Cross and was there to receive us all as her children from our Lordís lips "Mother - behold your son".
May this Easter joy be yours in your homes and in your families and amongst all you love.
Father Tom Connolly and Father George and Gabriela MCR.