First of all, I want to say THANK YOU VERY MUCH for all of those who contributed to our Divine Mercy Mission Renewal! These last 3 Mondays were a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the message of Divine Mercy, and how this devotion can lead us deeper into the mystery of Lent and the joy of the coming Easter celebrations. To all of our speakers, volunteers, coordinators, members of the choir and music ministry, and all of you who devoted your time to these Monday evenings…thank you for your dedication and commitment!
The Disciple Maker Index Survey, sponsored by the Catholic Leadership Institute is coming to an end. To all of you who took part in this survey…thank you very much! This was an important tool in the ongoing Road to Renewal and should assist the diocese in evaluating the strengths of each parish community. Please be aware…if you took a paper survey to fill out, it MUST be returned by Wednesday, April 6 at the absolute latest.
We have now entered the final stretch of the Lenten season, or what has traditionally been known as Passiontide. This is the last week of Lent before Holy Week begins, and there are some notable changes that will occur to mark this shift. First, this is the time when statues and other holy images are traditionally veiled in purple cloth. Crosses and images of the crucifixion are unveiled on Good Friday, but the rest will remain hidden from sight until the beginning of the Easter Vigil. This practice calls us to focus even more intently on the coming passion of Christ. Although we never deny the intercession of the saints or their importance in our lives, by covering their images, we are being challenged to remember that they (and by extension, God our heavenly Father) is always present with us even in the darkest of times; times when we feel abandoned and alone. On this Sunday, in the Tridentine Mass, the gospel read was from John 8: 46-59. The last couple of lines from this reading are written thusly… “Jesus said to them, ‘Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham came to be, I am.’ They therefore took up stones to cast at Him, but Jesus hid Himself, and went out from the temple.”
Second, an important change occurs during the Mass, and that is the Preface. The Preface is the long prayer chanted by the priest after the Preface dialogue (“The Lord be with you…and with your spirit…lift up your hearts…we lift them up to the Lord…let us give thanks to the Lord our God…it is right and just…”). The priest continues… “It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation…” and thus the Mass continues with the Eucharistic Prayer. During this week, we leave behind the usual Lenten Prefaces and use Preface I of the Passion of the Lord. This preface calls us to remember the cross as a sign of victory and triumph over sin and death.
“…For through the saving Passion of your Son, the whole world has received a heart to confess the infinite power of your majesty, since by the wondrous power of the Cross, your judgment on the world is now revealed and the authority of Christ crucified…”
~Fr. Martin Gallagher