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Experience Holy Week at St. Mary's

Dear Parish Family,

This week is the holiest week of the Church year. Christmas is important, of course, but it truly takes a distant second place to the week we’re about to experience. Every year, priests and parish staff members anticipate big crowds for Palm Sunday and Easter – and that’s wonderful!

They, however, are the “Wikipedia” version of the story of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.

They are the Cliff Notes. We get the essentials through Palm Sunday and Easter, but the details can get a bit murky. We need a dose of Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday to really enter into the tenderness of the Last Supper Jesus spent with his friends… the rawness of that night in Gethsemane when Jesus begged God to give him an easier way out… the scandal of the day that we sentenced God to death and nailed Jesus to the cross… the staggering grief of waking up on Saturday without Jesus in the world… and the fragile joy in the darkness of Saturday night when we first glimpse a tomb that is empty.

After just having experienced Jesus’ Passion being reenacted at Mass this weekend, you may be feeling an urge to do something with this sacred week that lies before us. Have you ever attended Holy Week services before? If so, how long has it been? Consider coming to the Holy Thursday service at 6 PM. That liturgy is one of my favorites of the whole year. You’ll experience the Last Supper, witness the washing of people’s feet, be enwrapped by a

Eucharistic procession with 2,000-year old roots and have a silent church to be able to pray in with others for hours, so you can keep watch with Jesus in the garden. It’s magical. It will give you goosebumps.

Perhaps you can come on Good Friday when we remember the sacrifice Jesus made for us on that day and enter into the grief and confusion that gripped the first disciples, our ancestors. That day, the concept that he died for you and for me gets real. Might you consider coming to the ancient and primal service of fire, word, water and Eucharist

that occurs after dark on Holy Saturday at 8 PM? That is the night each year when adults enter the Catholic Church. We are blessed to welcome Thomas, Joe, Jacobe, Ariel & Maura.

Come witness their Confirmation and First Eucharist with an assembly that is the modern version of the brave followers who first went to the tomb in the hours before dawn and found it empty. If you don’t come, you won’t know what you’re missing. If you do come, no matter what you’re going through right now, I think you’ll feel that you lack nothing.

Happy Holy Week,

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