April 7, 2019 | Fifth Sunday of Lent

This weekend is the Men’s CRHP (Christ Renews His Parish) retreat, and next weekend is the Women’s CRHP retreat. Please keep the retreatants in your prayers these two weekends that they will have a life changing encounter with Jesus. Thanks and may God bless the teams that are leading the retreat weekends. The fruits of your labors will be seen in the new enthusiasm for Jesus and his Church that the retreatants will leave with.

It is hard to imagine that Lent will soon be over! Next week is Palm Sunday and the beginning of Holy Week. Lent will end with the beginning of the celebration of The Sacred Paschal Triduum, starting with the celebration of the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday evening. The Sacred Paschal Triduum ends at the conclusion of the Easter Vigil Mass on Holy Saturday evening. Even though Lent ends on Holy Thursday evening, we begin the Paschal fast that goes through the celebration of the Easter Vigil.

So, what you gave up for Lent is to continue until the conclusion of the Easter Vigil Mass on Holy Saturday evening. Then you can have that chocolate!! So what does the Sacred Paschal Triduum – Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Easter Vigil – celebrate? While we recall the events of salvation history, the Triduum celebrates not what once happened to Jesus, but what is NOW happening among us as a people called to conversion, gathered in faith, and gifted with the Spirit of holiness. The liturgies of the Triduum celebrate God’s taking possession of our hearts at their deepest core, recreating us as a new human community broken like bread for the world’s life – a community, rich in compassion, steadfast in hope and fearless in the search for justice and peace. I invite and encourage you to celebrate all three liturgies of the Triduum (Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Easter Vigil) with us as one single seamless three-day celebration. And then, be bathed in the light of the Resurrection as you renew your baptismal promises on Easter!

At the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday evening we will begin using new communion cups. The cups that have been used for many years are ceramic and some have chipped and the gold plating inside is wearing off. In the past, only cups made of precious metal were used for communion. After Vatican II the Church affirmed the goodness of vessels made of other materials such as pottery, wood, and glass. At my ordination in 1981 my cousins presented me a set (chalice, paten, cruets) of hand-made ceramic with their names on the bottom of the paten. After the experience of many years of using these materials, the Church has returned to the use of communion vessels made of precious metals. This is not to say that other materials are not dignified to hold the Body and Blood of Jesus, but that these materials are susceptible to breakage and spillage. As I mentioned, we will start using our new cups on Holy Thursday.

Have a blessed Lent!

Fr Don