Holy Week

04-05-2020Letter from the PastorFr. Don Kline, V.F.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Welcome to Holy Week! Today we begin the holiest week of the year for the Catholic Church. This week the Church commemorates Christ's death and burial. Ancient writers called this the Great or Holy Week of Our Lord's Passion. The custom of keeping the Holy Week goes all the way back to the time of the Apostles. When the early Christians spoke about Jesus to others, they started with the Passion of Our Lord. Scholars believe that the Passion of Our Lord spread before the other parts of the Gospel were even written down. The Passion of Our Lord is really the starting point for building our relationship with Jesus.

On Passion or Palm Sunday, the more solemn part of the penitential season begins. The images in our church are usually veiled in purple wrappings marking this week in a unique way. On Holy Thursday – we celebrate the Last Supper – the Church commemorates the institution of the Holy Eucharist. It is followed by a solemn procession to an altar in the hall for adoration until midnight. On Good Friday the Church commemorates the death of Our Blessed Savior on Mount Calvary for the sins of humanity. This includes the "Veneration of the Cross" in which we kiss the crucifix as a sign of our love for Jesus. On Holy Saturday, we celebrate the Triumph of Our Lord's resurrection from the dead and we welcome catechumens into the Church. Easter Sunday morning is the feast of Our Lord's Resurrection and the victory of life over death and the moment of our salvation. As St. Paul reminds us today, Our Lord was humbled unto death, but is now exalted above all creatures.

Why do we focus on Jesus' suffering? Our Lord's Passion acknowledges the suffering of humanity and gives meaning to suffering. However great or small our suffering is, we are united to Christ's suffering. God draws especially close to those who are suffering. We all undergo trials, but the question is not whether you or I will suffer. The real question is what will you do with your trials. Will you join them to His - or give in to bitterness?

Let us remember the Passion of Our Lord… not because suffering has the last word. It does not! We recall Our Lord's Passion because our faith points to something beyond our suffering. Christians throughout history knew that everything did not end at the tomb. If that was the end, then it would be tragic and heartbreaking. As a people of faith, we see beyond Christ's final agony and so we can see beyond all agony.

As God's beloved children we know there is much more to life than death. Because of Christ's suffering and death, our suffering now has great value. Join us this Holy Week as we relive the great events of our faith in Christ's suffering, death and resurrection.

This time in history is unlike anything we have ever experienced before. Our Church is suffering with COVID-19 but a great suffering is the inability to gather for Holy Mass during the holiest week of the year. However, as Catholics. we have a unique opportunity to share the love of God in the midst of suffering. Christian Charity will prevail – throughout history Christians have served the community as a witness of love and care during times of illness. Christ is the center of our life and He will lead us through all challenges.

It is important to be smart and think about what each of us can do to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses. We live in a generation where information is at our fingertips; there are many sources of information that may not be accurate and may lead to increased fear. Our website will help keep you informed of important developments and equip you with critical information. Let us remember that we are united in Christ through prayer and a common spirit of love and trust in Him.

Lastly, if you haven't yet signed up for online giving for our parish. Please do so here: saintbernadette.weshareonline.org Your gifts are needed now more than ever so we can continue the mission of the Church of making more disciples.