Fr. ChasDear Parish Family,

Today, “Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord,” begins the holiest week of the year!  Do you observe it as such, or is it about the same as every other week?  If it is, it’s not too late to make this year’s different.  Carve out the time necessary to enter into the sacred mysteries of the Easter Triduum (Holy Thursday, Good Friday and the Easter Vigil).

Back in the day, most businesses had Good Friday off so that everyone could observe the celebration of the Lord’s Passion.  Nowadays, you may have to arrange the time off beforehand.  Even if you can’t get the whole Friday off, try to take a half day and come to the Celebration of the Lord’s Passion at 12:30 p.m.  It’s a long service, but it’s meant to be lengthy so that we can do something we don’t do enough:  block out the busyness of the world and simply sit and contemplate on the depths of the Lord’s love for us revealed on the cross.  Also on Good Friday are various devotions such as the beginning of the Divine Mercy Novena at St. Joseph Oratory (3:00 p.m.), the Stations of the Cross (5:00 p.m.), and “Prayer around the Cross” (7:00 p.m.).

Another good way to celebrate this Holy Week is to take the family or friends and watch the
excellent film presently in theaters called The Young Messiah, which imagines the life of Jesus when he was seven years old and is based on Anne Rice’s best seller, Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt, rated PG-13.  The actors playing the young Jesus, Mary, and Joseph all do a fine job, as does Sean Bean (The Lord of the Rings) who plays the Roman centurion, Severus.  

April 9 – the Last 5:45 p.m. Saturday Mass
Two Sundays ago, I announced at the 5:45 p.m. Mass that April 9 would sadly be the last 5:45 p.m. Mass.  After introducing the 5:00 p.m. Mass last June, we were planning to conclude the 5:45 p.m. Mass right away because it was the least attended among all the Masses.  However, after listening to the suggestions of some parishioners to see if the 5:00 p.m. would in fact be more popular, I asked for special permission from the bishop to celebrate a 7th weekend Mass here at St. John.  He permitted it for a 6-month ad experimentum basis with an evaluation thereafter.  

The Mass attendance counts revealed the same thing.  Just to make sure that the results were not a seasonal thing, however, we extended the comparison to over 9 months now.  Tracking Mass attendance ever since, the 5:45 p.m. has continued to be the least attended Mass.  The second least attended Mass was the 8:00 a.m. on Sunday.  

I know this is disappointing for those who have faithfully attended this 5:45 p.m., but I sincerely hope that everyone will be able to attend one of our six other Masses. If, for some reason, this was the only time that worked for someone’s schedule, St. Mary, Star of the Sea does have a 5:30 p.m.  If it’s any consolation, know that the 5:00 p.m. Mass on Sunday is attracting folks who we’ve never seen at Mass before.  It’s not just folks who find that time more convenient, but also new people who enjoy the more contemporary worship music.

Yours in Christ,
Fr. Chas