March 28, 2021

As we enter into this holiest week of the year I can’t help but reflect on how different this Holy Week is from last year’s Holy Week. Last year we were only weeks into the shutdown that resulted from the pandemic. All Masses were online and it was a Holy Week that was stark, even as we celebrated God’s victory over sin and death once and for all time in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

This year, while our liturgies will continue to reflect the reality of the pandemic, we will be able to gather as a community of faith. That, in itself, is something that I am so grateful for! The liturgies during this special week will be celebrated with people in the pews. That is a gift that I will never take for granted.

This weekend, for Palm Sunday, we will gather in the church for all three of our liturgies and will not be able to do the procession from Marian Hall that we typically do at the 9:00 am Mass. But, at all our Masses we will distribute and bless palms. That is such a gift compared to last year when we did not distribute palms at all.

On Holy Thursday, we will gather as a community of faith and celebrate a bilingual Mass. We will receive the oils blessed by the Archbishop at the Chrism Mass this past Thursday. And while we will not have the traditional washing of the feet ritual, we will celebrate the gift of Jesus of himself - continuing to serve us in the midst of this community of faith, and continuing to nourish us with his very Body and Blood. While we will not process with the Blessed Sacrament over to the Hall, we will process within our church and will have time to pray before the sacrament in the tabernacle.

On Good Friday this year, we will have two services. The service at 6:00 pm will be in English and the service at 7:30 pm will be in Spanish. Once again, because of the virus, we will adjust things a bit, but the heart of this liturgy remains. We will give thanks for the radical love of God that takes Jesus to the cross. We will reverence that cross, without touch this year, but we will reverence it nonetheless.

At the Easter Vigil, we will baptize four adults and two children. That is a far cry from where we were last year when we were not able to baptize at all! And while we will shorten the Liturgy of the Word, and not have as much music as in normal times, it will be a great feast where we make new Christians and re-make those of us who already enjoy the blessings of our baptism.

We will bless the Easter Fire at 9:00 pm as we gather outside with our Elect and their sponsors. We will bring the light of Christ, the beautiful Paschal Candle, into our darkened church, and spread that light of hope throughout the assembly. We will hear the beautiful praise and blessing for this light sung in the great Exsultet.

We will listen to the great story of God’s love for us, culminating in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. We will call upon all the saints as we approach the waters of new birth with our Elect and we will hear the beautiful sound of “Alleluia” as we are all sprinkled with the water of new life.

Then we will gather with our brothers and sisters to seal them with the gift of the Holy Spirit and feast with them at the Table of the Lord.

On Easter Sunday we will continue our celebration of new life and gather at 9:00 am, 11:30 am (Spanish) and 5:00 pm, to give praise and thanks to God for this new life we are plunged into. We will renew our Baptismal promises and be sprinkled with Easter water, a reminder of our Baptism. We will, once again, feast on Easter Eucharist, and be sent to share the Good News that Christ has conquered sin and death once and for all time.

For all our Masses during Holy Week, from this Sunday’s Palm Sunday liturgies, all the way through Easter Sunday next week, we ask you to register. We will provide overflow seating in Marian Hall, where the liturgies will be live-streamed. Those livestreams will be available on our usual channels for those of you who will be joining us from home.

I hope you will be able to join us either during this most Holy Week or sometime during the Easter Season (which continues through Pentecost on May 23rd). You can celebrate Easter all throughout the season, even at daily Mass (Monday-Thursday at 8:30 am).

Yes, our celebrations will be different this year. They will not be everything we want them to be. But, my goodness, they will be so much richer than last year! I look forward to celebrating with you, either in person or online. Please know that you will be in my prayers during this most holy of all the weeks of the year!

Fr. Gary Lazzeroni