The Meaning of the Days of Holy Week: What We Pray is What We Believe
Maundy (Holy) Thursday: Almighty Father, whose dear Son, on the night before he suffered, instituted the Sacrament of his Body and Blood: Mercifully grant that we may receive it thankfully in remembrance of Jesus Christ our Lord, who in these holy mysteries gives us a pledge of eternal life; and who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen
Good Friday: Almighty God, we pray you graciously to behold this your family, for whom our Lord Jesus Christ was willing to be betrayed, and given into the hands of sinners, and to suffer death upon the cross; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Great Vigil of Easter: O God, who made this most holy night to shine with the glory of the Lord’s resurrection: Stir up in your Church that Spirit of adoption which is given to us in Baptism, that we, being renewed both in body and mind, may worship you in sincerity and truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
All the liturgies are at 7:30 p.m. (Thursday and Saturday at St. John’s – Friday at St. Paul’s)
Come and See. God bless you this Easter!
“And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” (Rev. 21:5) We’re a week into 2015, but I am hoping that you haven’t lost the joy and sense of expectation that a “NEW” year brings. A parish now begins a new financial year as its stewardship drive has been completed. However, its liturgical year began four weeks prior to Christmas in Advent. Its “real” life cycle is “mid-year” since, if truth be told, the rhythm of our lives follows the flow of the academic year (from Sept. – June).
We have our Parish Annual Meeting coming up on Sunday, January 25 during and after the 9:30 Holy Eucharist. A new vestry will be elected and begin to work. A new budget must be approved. New plans for spiritual programs for formation and enrichment not only of our youth but for our adults will kick in as well. So much is on our plate. Our agenda, you will see, is daunting but fresh. We have much work ahead of us, but with God’s help and our handiwork, we will make “all things new” not merely a theme but a reality.
Strong by 17
This week, we have already (and will again) experienced how parochial spiritual life dictates its growth. Last Sunday at 5 pm, the para-liturgical service known as “Lessons and Carols” took place at St. John‘s. The purpose of scripture and Advent hymns was to keep us on point: He who will come again in glory has already come in humility. We wait for Him.
On this Saturday at 4 pm at St. Paul’s, there will be singing of Christmas Carols (Joyful Noise from our own “Joyful Noyz” group). We peek ahead to the joy of the Incarnation!
“If you fail to love music, I worry about your soul,” one of my professors once yelled at me – with good reason. This season is one of Hope and Joy. Music conveys both, and our parish (as any parish community) needs both. As we sing, so we pray. As we pray, may we grow as a community of hope. May the Triune God bless us with hope!
Strong By 17
This past Friday and Saturday, clergy and lay members of every parish in this Diocese of NY met for the canonically mandated Diocesan Convention. As a priest, I am required to attend. Our parish lay representative whom you elected at last year’s annual meeting, Cecilia Stempel, also attended as a full voting member.
Each of these annual gatherings is both a time for “catching up” with friends and “listening” to the stories of other parishes in addition to receiving reports from Diocesan authorities. We heard of the good (a dying parish that has come back to life in Hamburg, NY) and the bad (even the diocese as a whole now struggles financially and is tapping into resources because parish assessments often are not being paid). We approved a diocesan budget and set further standards for new clergy in terms of interfaith knowledge. Yet we also couldn’t agree even to speak about how health care costs are going to be met in parishes – as the issue had to be tabled for further study.
And through it all, we broke bread at table and later at the altar. We sang, we discussed, we argued and most of all, there was an optimistic spirit that as one church under the authority of our Bishop, we will do God’s work and be what the Lord is calling us to be. I saw St. John‘s story being played out on a larger scale. We’ve got work to do, but “…(His) will be done on earth as in heaven.” It will happen.
Strong by 17