Holy Week

My dear parishioners and friends of our parish community: There are no brighter lights along the path to holiness than the illuminating Masses,

Devotions, and Services the Catholic Church offers during Holy Week.  There’s no better time of the year to augment the Church’s formal liturgies with homemade customs of your own. 

Holy Week begins with Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion, which beautifully unites the royal entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem with the Proclamation of His Passion.  Palm branches are blessed by the priest today and kept in the Catholic home (preferably behind the crucifix) as a witness to faith in Jesus Christ, the Messianic King, and in His Paschal Victory.  One tried and true tradition: weave your family’s palms into a cross or basket.  On Easter Sunday it will hold colorful eggs, making a delightful Resurrection centerpiece. 

Tuesday of Holy Week offers us in the Diocese of Norwich the annual “Chrism Mass” at 10:30 a.m. in St. Patrick Cathedral in Norwich.  Bishop Michael R. Cote, the Bishop of Norwich, will bless and consecrate the oils used in the celebration of Sacraments. 

Our Parish Confirmation Candidate, Matt Zampini, and representatives of our parish will participate in this solemn Mass honoring the Priests serving in the Diocese of Norwich.  It’s a great day to visit our beautiful Cathedral.  Please make the effort to attend the Chrism Mass. 

Lent officially ends with the beginning of the Easter Triduum with the evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday night.  Catholic Churches transfer the Blessed Sacrament from the main Tabernacle to the Tabernacle of Repose.  There’s no better way to close Holy Thursday than kneeling before Christ present in the Eucharist.  Pray for Priests! 

Everyone 14 years or older is bound to abstain from meat on Good Friday; everyone 18 years or older is bound to Fast on Good Friday.  On Good Friday only one full meatless meal is allowed; eating between meals is forbidden.  Holy Mass is NOT offered on Good Friday, but parishes hold a 3:00 p.m. service and invite all to venerate the Cross.  When possible, Catholics break from work between the hours of 12:00 noon and 3:00 p.m., the hours Christ spent on the Cross. 

Silent prayer is encouraged all day before the replica of Christ’s tomb set up in our church.  The faithful go there to venerate Jesus who was placed in a tomb following the crucifixion and in which He remained for some 40 hours.  Bring your family to see it.  Bring your cameras!  On Good Friday the special Divine Mercy Novena leading up to Divine Mercy Sunday begins.  To find out more about the Divine Mercy Novena, go to EWTN.com, click on the “Faith” tab, then “Devotions” and “Novenas.” 

Good Friday evening we will walk the Stations of the Cross at 6:30 p.m.  Holy Saturday is an empty time of waiting and silent prayer at Christ’s Tomb.  No Mass or service until 8:00 p.m. for the Solemn Easter Vigil.  I will gladly bless your baskets of Easter Foods on Holy Saturday afternoon at 1:00 p.m. followed by the Divine Mercy Novena.  Please bring your family members and invite your loved ones to St. John Church this Easter!  The solemn Masses of Our Lord’s Resurrection are on Easter Sunday at 8:00 and 10:00 a.m.

                                                                Prayerful Holy Week!  See you in church! 
                                                                    
                                            Father Jim 
                                                                            SaintJohnChurchMiddletown.com

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