My Dear Parishioners,
This weekend we enter the Holiest Week of our Liturgical year. As we bring the Lenten Season to its conclusion, we enter what we call "Holy Week" and walk with Jesus Christ through his passion, death and resurrection.
On Tuesday afternoon the church of Green Bay will assemble at the Cathedral and celebrate the Chrism Mass. At this Eucharist the "Holy Oils" that will be used in administering the Sacraments this coming year will be blessed and consecrated. The three oils are: "Oil of the Sick," which is used in the Sacrament of Anointing—this sacrament is a continuation of the healing ministry of Jesus. "Oil of Catechumens" is the oil that is used in administering the Sacrament of Baptism. Finally, the oil named "Holy Chrism" is the oil used in the administration of the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders. This is a scented oil and is seen as the outward sign of these sacraments and the vehicle of the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the person receiving the Sacrament. Deacon Jim and his wife Linda will represent our parish and pick up our supply of these three Holy Oils after the Chrism Mass and will bring them to our parish. At the beginning of the Eucharist on Holy Thursday evening, three members/families of our parish will officially present these oils to our parish community. The "Oil of the Sick" will be presented by Brian and Mary Lou Cundiff, who have been anointed with this oil this past year as they battle with Mary Lou’s cancer. The "Oil of the Catechumens" will be presented by Drew and Sara Shiller, whose newborn son will receive the Sacrament of Baptism the week after Easter. The "Holy Chrism" will be presented by Marti Burkard, our Faith Formation Coordinator, who has prepared our young adults for the Sacrament of Confirmation. Our Holy Thursday Eucharist is at 7 pm – why not consider attending?
In our secular and pagan society, many long-time traditions and practices have been cast aside. One person recently said to me that "nothing is sacred anymore." One good example of this is the fact that "Good Friday," which used to be revered as one of the most sacred days of the year, has been made into a very ordinary day by our society. This can be accepted by us or it can be rejected – it all depends on us and our attitude. May I suggest that you personally make "Good Friday" once again a "SACRED DAY." You can do this by perhaps spending time in prayer, reading the Gospel account of the Passion and Death of our Lord, by doing some acts of penance and self-denial, and of course by gathering with your faith community at 1 pm to celebrate the Good Friday liturgy. The liturgy is not a Mass (the Mass is not celebrated on Good Friday anywhere in the world) but it is a Hearing of the Word of God, the reading of the Passion and Death account in John’s Gospel, then the community offers prayers for all our needs. Finally we have the Veneration of the Cross. The cross, which is one of our central symbols, is carried into our church, we have songs, incense, and prayers. Then we pray the "Our Father" and take communion (from hosts consecrated at the Holy Thursday Liturgy). Finally, we come forth to venerate the Cross of Christ through which we have been saved. The Liturgy is very beautiful, very ancient and yet ever new. Why not plan to attend? Why not make Good Friday a sacred and holy day?
Oremus pro invicem,