Dear friends in Christ:
What a marvelous Holy Week and Easter! I know that I say this every year, but it is always true! What many do not realize is how many people are involved and how much work it takes. This is true for all churches but in a parish this large, it is especially true. The work of preparing and “executing” everything is truly a work of love for everyone involved. While many people see the end results of the liturgies (ceremonies, music, décor etc.), we generally do not pay attention to all the behind the scenes work that takes place. To most people much of what has to be done may not seem particularly “sacred” but without it, nothing would get done. We tend to forget that at the Last Supper, the room had to be prepared, cooking had to be done and then dishes washed! Here at the parish there are literally hundreds of people involved in preparing Lent, Holy Week and Easter. There are some people for whom this takes weeks and months of effort.
To all of our staff and dedicated parishioner volunteers, to each and every one of them, we say thank you!
The church renovation project is moving towards completion, but we still have a lot to do. I wish I could give you a precise date for completion but there is so much and so many variables that I am not able to do so. Many things are simply outside of our control. At the same time there are many kind people who are concerned with one thing or another. That is wonderful, but I would please encourage you to remember, that the project is not completed, so patience and understanding are still very much required. Once the work is completed, we will go back and examine everything to make sure all is done according to building code specifications and our needs. Please also keep in mind that due to code specifications and other factors, there are some things that you or I would perhaps do differently that cannot be done.
Now that Lent is over, it is not the time to go back to all of our bad or sinful habits! The discipline of Lent is to help move in the right direction spiritually and to grow in the life of grace. We don’t stop just because Easter has arrived. If you came to confession during Lent, make the effort to come again –especially if it had been several months since your last confession before Lent. The Sacrament of Penance is not just for Advent and Lent. We are open for business all year! Likewise, if you came to daily mass or went to adoration during Lent, keep coming. If you read the scriptures during Lent, keep reading! If you abstained or fasted in some way during Lent, keep the sacrifice in some way. Every Friday of the year is a day of penitence where we recall the Lord’s passion. While we do not keep the intensity of Lent all year long, we should build on our spiritual disciplines and not abandon them only to start over next year.
Most importantly, invite someone to come to Mass with you. While it is wonderful that people come on Christmas, Easter, Palm Sunday and Ash Wednesday how much better it is to come every week. Weekly mass attendance does make a difference. Help somebody grow in their relationship with God, be their spiritual partner. There is a real and practical reason Jesus sent the apostles out in pairs. It is just easier and we are able to be more committed if we know someone else is going to be with us. This is a truth of human experience (think of going to the movies or the gym, the ballgame, the museum, shopping, etc.) Most people need at least three invites before they ever consider anything. Always be considerate and kind but also persistent!
Have a blessed Easter!
In Pace Christi,
Fr. Troy Gately