Dear Parish Family,

What’s the “Easter Octave?” The Easter Octave is the first eight days of the Easter season, from Easter Sunday to today, the second Sunday of Easter, called Divine Mercy Sunday. All eight days are considered a Solemnity.

So what’s a Solemnity? Solemnities are feast days of the highest rank. Thus, they normally celebrate events in the life of Jesus, Mary, or sacred mysteries like the Trinity and Corpus Christi. There are fewer than twenty universal Solemnities, and these eight days of the Easter Octave are considered to be one continuous solemnity.

There are also feast days that are raised to the rank of a Solemnity due to the local importance of that feast day. For example, because St. John the Evangelist is our patron saint, his feast day, which is on December 27, is considered a Solemnity within our parish territory.

How do we celebrate a Solemnity? The best way obviously is participating in Holy Mass that celebrates that occasion or the Vigil Mass the evening before. Most Solemnities are not holy days of obligation, but the biggest ones are. Another primary way of celebrating Solemnities is feasting…literally, as in having a special meal or get together after Holy Mass. Here is one area where many of us have become spoiled because we may have an expensive meal simply because we want to treat ourselves, not because we have anything particular to celebrate. I know I’m guilty at times! But this is a luxury that most of the world’s population does not have.

In order to cultivate a greater sense of gratitude in our lives and in actually having something special that marks Solemnities and other special occasions, perhaps we should strive to have those special-occasion-meals or special treats only when we do have a special occasion to celebrate. By celebrating only when there is actually something to celebrate and exercising some restraint when we don’t, we:
1) foster self-discipline and an appreciation for even the little things in life,
2) become more attuned to the Church’s liturgical calendar, and
3) become better stewards of what we do have.
For families, this more intentional way of life is also one of the ways to battle against a sense of entitlement or ingratitude in our children. If every day were a special occasion, then none of them end up being so. In the end, it is not that much of a discipline. Between solemnities, feasts, anniversaries, and birthdays (Fr. Brian’s was April 18, so wish him a belated one after Mass), these special occasions come more often than we think.

Witness to Hope Update
Many are wondering how do we find out more information about the Witness to Hope Campaign. We are praying for it at Mass, but how come we haven’t heard more? Everyone will receive an individual packet especially for them, which details our parish proposal. We ask that parishioners pick up the packet with their name on it from the Parish Center on designated weekends in May. Please also keep the following dates in mind.
All-in Ministry Meeting – Tuesday, May 9: This is open to everyone, but particularly for those who volunteer in our various ministries, commissions, and committees. After the 5:30 p.m. Tuesday evening Mass, we will gather in the Community Room for a social half-hour and some light fare, and have a presentation at 6:30 p.m., along with a Q&A with the priests and lay leaders of the parish.
Witness Weekend – May 20-21: After each of the weekend Masses, some parishioners will briefly share about their participation in Witness to Hope and how they believe it will benefit our parish and the larger Church. Everyone will be invited to pick up their individual packets at the Community Room in the Fr. Murray Parish Center.
Participation Weekend – June 24-25: We hope to have received the majority of pledges by this date. This will be the time when those who have yet to turn in their pledges for the Witness to Hope campaign will be encouraged to do so.
As generations before have made it possible for us to receive the Gospel and the saving grace of the sacraments in this historic parish, may we provide the gift of our priceless faith to the next generation!

Easter blessings,
Fr. Chas